Minister launches UK’s first Software Academy
Economy, Science and Transport Minister Edwina Hart will be in Newport today [12 October 2015] to officially open the UK’s first Software Academy and welcome the new intake of undergraduates following a successful pilot of the course earlier this year.
Established by the Welsh Government in partnership with Cardiff University, the National Software Academy aims to address the current shortage of skilled software graduates needed by employers in Wales.
Run in partnership with the Alacrity Foundation in Newport, the three-year degree programme in applied software engineering has been set up to train and educate the next generation of skilled software engineers in Wales. The course is being delivered at Platfform, home of the Welsh Government’s digital innovation company in Newport.
The Technology Insights Wales 2012 report highlighted that through to 2015 3,100 new IT recruits are required each year in Wales just to meet existing demand. The supply of skilled graduates from universities is not currently meeting demand. However, Wales is not alone in trying to plug this skills gap. In the US, for example, there is an annual demand for 125,000 skilled software engineering graduates with only 45,000 being supplied by universities.
As well as delivering a key note speech at the launch event, Economy, Science and Transport Minister, Edwina Hart, will meet with students and staff at the Academy, welcoming the current intake of undergraduates and hearing from those who took part in the pilot project to hear about their experiences.
Mrs. Hart said:
“Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics skills are vitally important to the Welsh economy and this programme fully supports our vision of attracting and building capability in this area.
“We are a pro-business government, committed to working with the sector to find practical solutions to Wales’ economic needs. I am delighted we are launching the National Software Academy because it will ensure that our graduates entering this highly specialist profession have the right skills and training to hit the ground running.”
Professor Karen Holford, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said:
“When we talk to our partners in business and industry they tell us that they need more graduates leaving university with the right skills for the 21st century workplace. They need graduates with more ‘on the job’ experience and interaction with businesses throughout their studies.
“The National Software Academy will address these issues, and provide our students with a distinctive educational experience that ensures they stand out from the crowd. Students will graduate as highly employable leaders in their field, with the vocational edge needed in today’s workplace.”
Professor Simon Gibson, Chair of Trustees of the Alacrity Foundation commented:
“I believe the opening of this new higher education facility is one of the most novel economic and educational public policy innovations to have occurred in Wales for a long time. It should bring long term benefits with ramifications within and beyond Wales. It is a unique model of workforce development in the United Kingdom for an industry whose capacity for employment and wealth creation will be sustained throughout the twenty first century.”
Students enrolled onto the National Software Academy will work on real life projects throughout their studies under the mentorship of experienced software engineers from industry.
By tackling existing commercial projects, the students will be exposed to leading-edge technologies and will be able to develop the necessary skills and on the job experience required by employers.
Teaching in the National Software Academy will mimic a workplace environment with an emphasis on working in small groups with industry working practices.
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