Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

UK 'First' for North as IT Apprentice Hub Launches; APPRENTICES

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

UK 'First' for North as IT Apprentice Hub Launches; APPRENTICES

Article excerpt

Byline: ROBERT GIBSON robert.gibson@ncjmedia.co.uk

THE UK's first IT apprentice hub, aimed at closing the welldocumented skills gap in the sector, is to launch in the North East.

Dynamo, the region's IT employer network, has partnered with Baltic Training Services for the initiative, which offers a 15-week Rising Stars programme, preparing young adults for roles in IT through an intensive skills training course with technical content.

Everyone who completes the course will be given the opportunity to progress to a paid full-time 12 month Level 3 apprenticeship with an IT employer.

The approach, designed to bridge the gap between education and industry, has never before been tried in the UK - although it was successfully piloted at Quorum Business Park in North Tyneside, where eight young people completed the course, with seven going on to secure IT apprenticeships.

The first hub is scheduled to open at Sunderland Software City next month, with the second launching in Newcastle in April. The project is entirely Government funded, with no cost for students, and, if successful, could be rolled out across the country.

Bob Paton, vice chairman of Dynamo and managing director of Accenture in Newcastle, which will provide laptops for the project, said: "We have an ever growing and successful IT sector in the North East.

"However, to grow it further we need to increase the pool of young people in the region who have the skills necessary to join the industry.

"That is why Dynamo has put skills development at the top of our agenda.

"A major element of our skills strategy is to increase the take on of apprentices, particularly for SMEs.

"Setting up this apprentice hub is unique in IT and will significantly help more young people into our industry."

In the North East, more than 32,000 people are currently employed in IT, a sector for which it is becoming increasingly renowned. However, in the line with the rest of the UK, there is an insufficient number of young people - particularly women - gaining the right skills to enter the industry. …

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