New initiative could create thousands of work-ready tech graduates in South Wales

A new report by the Newport Economic Network highlights plans to create an ambitious higher education project designed to deliver work-ready technology graduates through applied learning courses.

New initiative could create thousands of work-ready tech graduates in South Wales

It is well-reported that there aren’t enough people with highly technical skills to meet the growing demand of industry. Talent supply remains the number one challenge facing digital tech businesses in the UK with over 50% highlighting a shortage of highly skilled employees.

Many people believe the current university model of learning isn’t doing enough to provide Welsh employers with the necessary number of graduates with required hi-tech focused skills. The traditional methods of course delivery are academic rather than applied, and the existing institutions are struggling to satisfy the fast-moving needs of the students or the demands of the technology centric organisations wishing to employ them.

The proposed National Technology Institute (NTI) highlighted in a Newport Economic Network report will be based in Newport and will have an emphasise on innovation, entrepreneurship and commercialisation. It hopes to be smarter, faster, cheaper, more flexible than current HE establishments and provide a new choice for those pursuing a technology career.

What makes the National Technology Institute different?

  • Offering a blended educational environment with in-classroom and online study as well as workplace learning
  • Two-year degrees with three terms and significantly shortened holiday periods during the Summer, Easter and Christmas
  • A curriculum taught by a combination of academic staff and industry fellows
  • A seamless pathway onto employment from further education
  • Teaching underpinned by application, efficiency and effectiveness
  • Ensuring students are ready to work in advanced technological and digital environments from day one of their employment
  • Employers will be embedded in every aspect of the NTI and will have a vested interest as the NTI will train their current and future workforce

The actual degree programmes have not been decided but here are the proposed areas of study:

  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Animation
  • Application Development
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Building and Maintaining IT Systems and Networks
  • Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data Engineering
  • Data Science
  • Deep Learning
  • Design Engineering
  • Design Thinking
  • Digital Marketing and Sales
  • Imaging
  • Industry 4.0
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • IT Security Operations
  • Machine Learning
  • Marketing Research
  • Multimedia Production
  • Networking
  • Product Management
  • Project Management
  • Research and Quantitative Data Analysis
  • Software Engineering
  • 5G and Telematics
  • Web Development

The National Technology Institute hopes to be the bridge between students and employers reintroducing the concept of student sponsorship by partner companies.

Newport Economic Network chairperson, Professor Simon Gibson, said: "This is about moving the needle significantly and will be focused on fulfilling the chronic shortages in the technology sectors and provide high paid skilled jobs to the economy. It will also be very much about bringing back the concept of industrial sponsors and hi-tech apprenticeship.”

He added: “There is a chronic deficit of skills with increasing demand in areas such as software, artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data, which are evolving at pace and at the same time.”

Do you think this initiative is a good idea? Will this really help the tech skills shortage in South Wales or will it only benefit those employers that invest their time and money into training these students?

Want to have your say? Get in touch on our LinkedIn page.

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