Tech industry reaffirms support to Higher Education

Employers from across the economy have today underlined their ongoing commitment to working with Higher Education to deliver outstanding, industry-relevant degree courses.

A new Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board has been formed by CIOs, line of business executives and HR directors from Air Products, Amazon, Barclaycard, BT, Capgemini, Cisco, CGI, DWP, Fujitsu, IBM, Jaguar Land Rover, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, the National Childbirth Trust, Network Rail, NHS Digital, Telefonica UK and VMware.

The Board will provide the ongoing strategic leadership to take forward the Tech Partnership’s work in Higher Education. This includes overseeing the industry accreditation Tech Industry Gold, expanding the number of students, universities and employers involved with these programmes, and exploring synergies with the new Institute of Coding.

As well as being assured that Tech Industry Gold degrees meet industry standards in terms of their content, undergraduates benefit from an unmatched experience due to industry involvement in their delivery. Employers collaborate to deliver regular ‘industry insight’ lectures from leading professionals in industry, and students meet both employers and peers from universities across the country at the popular annual events where they develop their skills, participate in creative competitions and learn more about the industry.

There are currently 1,500 undergraduates on Tech Industry Gold accredited degree courses in 18 universities, and there have been 4,000 graduates to date. These courses, the IT Management for Business BSc (ITMB) and Software Engineering for Business BSc, deliver outstanding employment and academic outcomes. 87% of the 2017 graduates received 1st or 2:1s (compared to 51% for computing overall), and the proportion of females is double that of computing overall.

Julia McDonald of CGI explains: “CGI has been actively engaged in helping to design the standards, supporting delivery and collaborating with employers across the economy to build industry accredited degrees for many years now. The benefits of this industry involvement is demonstrated by the exceptional level of graduates entering our workforce. We are proud to be a part of the Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board going forward”.

The industry backing for Tech Industry Gold is highly valued by universities. University of Loughborough Course Director, Ray Dawson, says: “You can really see the advantage students get from their interaction with employers on Tech Industry Gold courses. The lectures from tech leaders in different industries offer insights not available elsewhere, and the students get great value from developmental events involving multiple employers and universities. We also value the interaction with the other universities offering accredited programmes.”

In addition to the full-time degrees, 27 universities are offering Tech Industry Gold accredited digital degree apprenticeships. Over 1,250 employees from 80 companies have already embarked on these new programmes, as a result of employer confidence in their quality and the appeal to young people of integrating work and study. Says Jenny Taylor of IBM: “IBM worked with many other employers to create the new Degree Apprenticeship and they offer a superb new route into digital careers. We always choose Tech Industry Gold accredited programmes for our apprentices because of their guaranteed high quality and suitability to people in employment”.

Manchester Metropolitan University Course Director Robin Johnson says: “The benefits to students of degree apprenticeships are obvious – a debt free honours degree at the same time as getting started on their career with paid employment. As a university, we have gained a great deal by ensuring our courses are industry accredited as Tech Industry Gold. Our programmes are used by companies such as Barclays, Lloyds Bank and Astra Zeneca as well as many small local businesses. We have seen rapidly increasing uptake, with 150 students starting this year.”

Anouska Ramsay of Capgemini adds: “Capgemini is seeing fantastic results from Tech Industry Gold degree apprenticeships. Seven of our first cohort of eleven graduates in 2017 achieved first class honours, and we have a further 240 employees in the middle of their courses. We are delighted to be working with other employers on the Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board to expand the availability of these high quality programmes”.

Students past and present report on their experiences:

Matt Rigby, 2015 honours graduate of the IT Management for Business (ITMB) degree at the University of Manchester, who now works as an Interactive Experience Consultant for IBM says: “When I first started looking at universities I sat in countless computer science talks….. one of these talks introduced me to ITMB which was definitely for me. The course provides you with an enormous amount of interaction with employers. This really helped when applying for jobs, as I had a large network and the employer-related projects provided me with so much to talk about in interview.”

Ben Reitz, 2017 honours graduate of the Software Engineering for Business degree at the University of Sheffield, and now a Software Engineer at Capital One says: “I gained many important skills which make up the foundations of software development and this course gave me a lot of experience and insight into how many companies develop new software systems from scratch. The Tech Industry Gold events are also filled with prominent keynote speakers sharing their fascinating insights into the technology industry as well as fun competitions and great opportunities to network with other students and companies interested in recruiting people like me.”

Louise Miller, IT Management for Business student at Glasgow Caledonian University says: “My passion for this degree has grown stronger each year as I keep experiencing things that make me realise I’m part of something very special. Times are exciting for me right now, I’ve been lucky enough to spend my summer as an Intern for Tesco Bank Technology and the skills and knowledge I’ve learned from this are invaluable and it’s motivated me to go back to university and soak up all the benefits of such a unique and helpful degree. I’ve also had the chance to go to a number of events over the last year, the networking opportunities they provide are phenomenal and I genuinely believe students studying these degrees have an unfair advantage because of this.”

Karen Price, CEO of the Tech Partnership reflects: “Employers are committed to their collaborative work with higher education. They have invested over many years in establishing Tech Industry Gold degrees, and, more recently, degree apprenticeships, and were determined this support for universities and students should continue despite the closure of the Tech Partnership later this year. The formation of Tech Partnership Degrees enables them to do this”.

Employers and universities wanting to find out more should contact Bob Clift on [email protected]

About the Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board

The Tech Partnership Degrees Employer Board is providing strategic leadership for industry collaboration to:

  • Accredit and promote degrees and degree apprenticeships that meet employer defined Tech Industry Gold standards;
  • Help universities understand and respond to changing industry needs;
  • Deliver an outstanding student experience which improves employability in digital careers.

Tech Partnership Degrees is a new not-for-profit organisation formed to take forward the work of the Tech Partnership in Higher Education.

Click here for a list of the new Board’s membership