HP tackles skills shortage with computing degree

04 Oct 2010 View Comments
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Industry experience improves graduate prospects

Hardware giant HP has joined forces with the University of the West of England (UWE) to develop a computing degree that will help HP recruit some of the best graduates.

This announcement comes amid growing concern in the industry that IT graduates are leaving university with sufficient technical knowledge but very little business acumen.

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The four-year programme, entitled “UWE HP Enterprise Computing Degree”, will incorporate a one-year industry placement where 20 of the best candidates will intern with HP itself.

HP has also committed to taking on at least 20 of the graduates into full-time employment, with the hope of increasing this number in the future.

“The exciting part for us is that we will get the chance to influence a degree and influence the students we get,” said Nick Wilson, UK managing director of HP.

Guest lectures will be held by HP throughout the course, where the focus will be on teaching the “softer skills of business”, in order to make sure more graduates are industry-ready.

“Currently we spend around 18 months training graduates up to the speed that we require,” says Wilson.

“One of the things that we have been campaigning for is making sure that when people leave university they are ready for work from day one. Technology graduates ironically have the worst employment rate, and we want to help improve this.”

Work-based experience will be catered for through the industry placement, as well as students making use of the new Education Innovation Centre at UWE.

The centre will allow students to use virtual learning tools, which will make it possible to practice work scenarios in as near to a real-life situation as possible.

Microsoft also recently launched its Britain Works Campaign, aimed at increasing younger people’s technology skills, by encouraging IT leaders to offer work experience placements.

A recent study by UWE highlights how graduates with industry-based work experience are 16 per cent more likely to get a job, command eight per cent higher salaries and are three times less likely to be unemployed.

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