Bridging the digital skills gap

More than £1m in funding from Skills Development Scotland will see Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing develop two new degree-level apprenticeships

Date posted

25 January 2017


Last updated

10 May 2021

Edinburgh Napier University has received a major funding boost that will see it pioneer two new Graduate Level Apprenticeship programmes designed to help bridge the digital skills gap.

The University’s School of Computing has won funding of more than £1million from Skills Development Scotland that will allow it to develop two new work-based courses as a way to meet demand from employers for computing graduates. 

The two Graduate Level Apprenticeships in Software Development for Business and Information Technology Management for Business are set to commence in May 2017 and will give those signed up to the scheme a chance to complete an Honours degree at the same time as working with their employer. Apprentices will undertake two modules per trimester which will be completed on block release giving them the added benefit of both classroom and work environment learning.   

The University will have a total of 30 places available across both courses, after being allocated the funding through Skills Development Scotland’s latest round of award wins. It is now seeking potential employers to sign-up to the scheme, giving them a chance to lead both courses in an effort to match the offering with their specific requirement. 

Alongside helping to fill the current skills gap within the computing industry, it is also hoped that the two new courses will help create fresh opportunities for the University by attracting employees keen to develop their personal careers but who had otherwise ruled out higher education. 

Dr Sally Smith, Dean of Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, said: “Nationally employers have a large unmet demand for more computing graduates. These Graduate Level Apprenticeships will be a true partnership between the tech sector in Scotland and the University and are designed to attract new talent into the sector.”

Graduate Level Apprenticeships have been developed by SDS in partnership with employers, universities and colleges and professional bodies to create stronger links between education and industry.

Jonathan Clark, Director of Service Design and Innovation at Skills Development Scotland said: “Graduate Level Apprenticeships have the potential to transform the way that young people access further and higher education.

“Graduate Apprentices will be employed during their studies and because much of the learning takes place in the workplace they will have the opportunity to immediately apply what they learn at college or university in their jobs – and vice versa.

“This provides opportunities for employers to help shape the skills of their employees and to address skills shortages affecting their industry and the local economy.

“SDS is delighted to be working with Edinburgh Napier University to deliver two Graduate Level Apprenticeships in IT and we look forward to working together to develop the skills employers need.”

Alison Varey, Head of Academic Development within Edinburgh Napier’s School of Computing, added: “We run a hugely successful apprenticeship degree in England. Our apprentices enjoy the balance of work and study and they are motived and hugely talented. This new initiative will build on this successful model for delivery.”