UK universities and Microsoft team up for digital skills programme
A first-of-its-kind programme, launched through a collaboration between three universities in the UK and tech giant, Microsoft aims to equip students with digital skills highly sought after by employers.
The three universities that have signed the Shared Goal Agreements and will work closely with Microsoft are Nottingham Trent University (NTU), University of Lincoln, and University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).
This programme will provide courses focused on areas such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and data science to students at these three universities.
This collaboration comes as a response to a report by the UK government that revealing that digital skills are universally required by employers.
The report states that about a third of UK employers struggle to fill vacancies due to the ‘lack of relevant digital skills among applicants’ adding that an applicant with digital skills is also more likely to progress their career and receive a higher salary.
Through this new initiative, students enrolled in these universities will have access to LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft’s AI Business School and technology learning courses, GitHub, and industry certifications.
The programme will also allow students to build critical non-technical skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
Commenting on this new agreement, NTU said “the tie-up would allow it to ‘pioneer new methods of learning and teaching to improve students’ experiences’, offer students a high level of digital competence and confidence and embrace digital innovation.”
Director of Digital Technologies at NTU, John Murphy said, “We want to ensure that our graduates leave NTU with the skills that employers are looking for, on top of their degree.”
Murphy added that the university’s Employability Team engages with local businesses to understand what skills they need, and have found that there is a strong demand for digital skills such as AI, data science, and cloud computing.
Another partner in this collaboration is the University of Lincoln, which plans to use the Shared Goal Agreement with Microsoft to grow its cloud computing programme, align with local business needs, and help students become more employable.
The university is planning to launch a Master’s degree in Cloud Computing in 2021.
UWTSD which is also collaborating in this project is “working with Microsoft to upskill students to enhance employability, support the post-COVID recovery in Wales through high-level skills development, and introduce new and innovative approaches to learning”.
The university has plans to offer the Azure Fundamentals course to all students.