New College Lanarkshire showcases IT apprenticeship programme

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Partnership with RBS and Oracle is unveiled to Scottish businesses and colleges.

Left to right - Matthew Smith, Linda McTavish, Caitlin Tinto, Frank Duffy and Simon Stone.

New College Lanarkshire has showcased its innovative IT apprenticeship programme to representatives from businesses and colleges across Scotland.

Our partnership with RBS and tech giant Oracle has attracted international interest since it created a bespoke HND qualification for IT apprentices.

The collaboration was showcased at a conference organised by the College Development Network, which took place at the John McIntyre Centre in Edinburgh.

The event, Employer and College Partnerships: Ensuring Education Works for All, was attended by more than 250 delegates, including employers, colleges, schools and training providers. 

The conference, which was opened by New College Lanarkshire's chair Linda McTavish CBE, featured 17 showcase events from colleges across Scotland.

New College Lanarkshire's showcase, Innovative Solutions for IT Apprenticeships, detailed the flexible programme of study that was created by the College for RBS to suit their business needs.

Among the speakers was 21-year-old Caitlin Tinto from Edinburgh, who is an IT apprentice with RBS studying at our Motherwell Campus since April 2014.

Caitlin spoke about her experiences of the programme in a Q&A with Simon Stone, Senior Technical Specialist at RBS.

Motherwell Campus student Caitlin Tinto, IT apprentice.

Delegates also heard about the creation and delivery of the programme from New College Lanarkshire staff members Matthew Smith, Head of Faculty for Computing & Creative Industries, and lecturer Frank Duffy.

Following the successful two-year pilot programme that ended in January, a second intake of IT apprentices are now working towards their HND qualifications using Oracle Academy training materials.

Matthew Smith said: "We have been working with RBS and Oracle for the past three years, carefully laying the foundations of a very successful apprenticeship programme.

"The Commission for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce report refers to the much greater focus on the value of employed Modern Apprenticeships in meeting the industrial challenges of the 21st century, with more and more employers seeing it as a way to respond to the skills demands of the modern economy.

"The College is working with businesses to tailor training to their local needs, whilst employees are getting the chance to complete a nationally-recognised qualification.

"It is very exciting for us to be at the forefront of filling a skills gap in IT and computer science opportunities."

Apprentices in the scheme use training materials provided by database giant Oracle, which currently supports 2.5 million students in 97 countries around the world.

Jane Richardson, Director of Oracle Academy EMEA, commented: “Our collaboration with New College Lanarkshire to use Oracle Academy’s curriculum in Java programming and database development, coupled with participation from RBS, illustrates how technology firms, businesses and academia can work together to better prepare students for careers in technology and IT.

“The ‘Higher National Diploma in IT’ serves as an ideal model for colleges participating in Oracle Academy, not just in Scotland, but across the UK and beyond.”

Joe Wilson, CEO of College Development Network, said: “We are delighted to highlight the partnerships and routes currently available which lead thinking in ways of developing Scotland’s young people.

"As an outcome of this event, we will share current practice and look at the areas where new approaches and capacity can be created across the sector to match the aspirations of learners to the needs of industry.”

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