Tech 100: ‘Graduate-level apprenticeships are a perfect fit for Scotland’s tech growth roadmap’
Sally Smith, Dean of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University, on digital skills and investment for the future
Sally Smith, Dean of Computing, Edinburgh Napier University - Image credit: Edinburgh Napier University
The future demand for digital skills is well known to readers of Connect and the Tech 100. We all share a stake in access to talented developers, analysts and cyber security experts.
The recent launch of the Digital Skills Partnership, hosted by ScotlandIS, is one sign that Scotland is not just taking notice but leading the way.
Another is the £36m digital skills fund announced earlier this month.
One of our newest skills development propositions, facilitated by the apprenticeship levy, is graduate level apprenticeships where apprentices study up to degree level.
Of course the idea of studying while working is far from new – e-Placement Scotland has been working with the tech sector since 2010 to create paid work experience opportunities for computing students.
With over 1800 placements created, we can say the model works for students and businesses in Scotland.
Recognising the need for tech skills in Scotland, Edinburgh Napier’s graduate-level apprenticeships in information technology management for business and software development were among the first to be funded by Skills Development Scotland.
Courses will start this September with the aim to build up capability in businesses through a shared four-year investment between individuals, universities and business.
Apprenticeships will appeal to high calibre school leavers, existing employees and, fingers crossed, women.
Our experience is that they are more likely to remain loyal to their companies and represent a prudent investment.
The skills gap in the ever-evolving IT and digital industries in Scotland is widening with 72 per cent of employers having reported a lack of technical, practical or job specific skills in applicants.
Programmes such as the graduate level apprenticeships can help meet this demand head on.
The turbulence caused by Brexit and the prospect of #indyref2 is also reason to start investing in our workforce and for future business growth.
Scotland is a beacon leading the way when it comes to the digital sector. Graduate level apprenticeships are a perfect fit for Scotland’s tech growth roadmap.
Sally Smith is dean of computing at Edinburgh Napier University
Technology is predicted to be the fastest growing sector of the economy to 2024
The think tank is calling for more investment in skills and better career progression for low-skilled workers
The Scottish Government published its draft STEM education strategy in November and work is now underway on the final version
The Scottish Government needs to improve Scotland’s performance in science and technology
Microsoft Surface has helped Cheshire Police reduce paperwork and free up time
Microsoft partner FlowForma walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK
Microsoft partner CPS walks through its efforts to empower local government as part of a series that highlights local government innovators across the UK
Microsoft looks at how intelligent business applications can help the public sector improve service delivery