Aston spearheads drive to tackle UK computing skills gap


19 January 2016

Aston University is spearheading the drive to tackle UK industry’s acute computing skills gap by delivering an innovative work-based Degree Apprenticeship in Digital and Technology Solutions. 

The Degree Apprenticeship allows students to take up a full-time IT job and complete an Aston Honours degree while earning a professional wage throughout, with the Government and partner employers covering all tuition fees. 

Using a ‘blended learning approach’, the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) programme mixes distance learning, work-based experience and on-campus teaching days to build students’ technical proficiency and practical ability. 

Over the duration of the course they will be introduced to Aston’s cutting-edge research and detailed industrial case studies to complement their own working experience, helping them develop into the technical and business leaders of tomorrow. 

The research-led curriculum is designed by Aston, with considerable input from ICT employers, such as consultancy and outsourcing services group Capgemini, to be directly relevant to the requirements of industry. The curriculum is endorsed by the Tech Partnership. 

Aston has been working with Capgemini since April 2014, when the first cohort of sponsored-degree students, all employees of the group, enrolled on the course. The Apprenticeship is open to all companies and employees in the ICT sector and Aston University welcomes any enquiries and applications.   

Anouska Ramsey, Talent Director at Capgemini, said: “We have the ability to grow our own graduates. We know what’s coming up in our business and we know what’s coming up in the industry because we live it and breathe it. We build our experience into making sure everything our apprentices learn at Aston is directly relevant and reinforced into what they’re doing in their jobs.” 

Professor Ian Nabney, Head of the Department of Computer Science at Aston University, said: “Aston is committed to innovative employer-led learning. The aim of these new apprenticeships is to combine academic learning with real life practical skills to ensure that the UK has the talented and creative digital workforce that it needs in future.” 

A recently published University Alliance report found that STEM employers frequently complain that they struggle to find graduates with the right skills. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) also warned of a shrinking pool of skilled workers in the UK, with British industry potentially facing a skills gap of 100,000 new graduates each year. 

Aston is a leader in research with real-world applications. The majority of the institution’s teaching staff have worked in or with industry and feed this directly into their teaching. 

To view the course page for the  Degree Apprenticeship in Digital & Technology Solutions, please see here

For further information please contact