Digital Bootcamp in business to make graduates work-ready

Digital bootcamp

Published on 18 February 2019

A pioneering bootcamp is set to ensure graduates hit the ground running when they move from university life into the workplace.

Operated in conjunction with the Institute of Coding (IOC), the University of Sunderland is preparing to pilot a scheme that aims to bridge the gap between study and employment for Computer Science graduates.

From next month, up to 10 graduates will take part in the project which aims to provide industry-led ‘top-up’ skills linked to opportunities with North East companies.

If successful, the scheme – dubbed a Digital Bootcamp – could be spread out across the country in a bid to fast-track graduates into positions with SMEs and global giant tech firms.

Ten companies based in the North East have already signed up to the scheme in a bid to support the graduates through the bootcamp.

The IOC was created to bring together businesses and educators in helping develop the level 6 and 7 digital and employability skills of graduates and the digital workforce.

Steve Blanks, who represents the IOC at the University of Sunderland, is overseeing the bootcamp.

He said: “Essentially, we are going to take some of our Computer Science graduates and put them through a number of bootcamps, focusing on their soft and technical skills, their presentation techniques, making sure they are interview-ready and giving them the mentoring and support they need to get the job they want.

“Specialist coaches will be brought in to help, and we’ll be using cutting edge training techniques, like putting the graduates into a ‘simulation agency’ for the day and seeing how they perform.”

The 10 companies who have signed up have expressed willingness to interview the participating graduates for possible roles.

Steve said: “This may be a pilot, but businesses are looking at this programme and they know that those taking part will be able to hit the ground running.”

The bootcamp is being supported by Digital Union, the largest network of digital, creative and technology businesses in the North East.

Digital Union helped shape the format of the bootcamps by reaching out to its members to identify the core skills they look for when taking on graduate or junior developers. In addition, a number of members have committed to interviewing the candidates following the course.

Jim Mawdsley, CEO at business support agency Generator, which runs Digital Union, said: “This is a fantastic example of education and industry working together to address the real-life needs of digital and tech companies that require work-ready graduates.

“We frequently hear from our members that while graduate developers often have the technical coding skills required, they lack other essential skills such as commercial awareness, communication and presentation training or working as part of a team.

“This is an exciting and much-needed pilot that has the potential to help reduce the skills gap in the region by getting the right people, with the right skills, in the right jobs.”

The IOC aims to bring together universities, large corporates, small and medium sized enterprises, established industry groups, experts in the delivery of distance and non-traditional learning and professional bodies, to develop and deliver innovative, industry-focused education across England.

It was 12 months ago that the Government announced the £20million IOC, a consortium of universities - including Sunderland, Newcastle and Northumbria - businesses and industry experts, set up to tackle the UK’s digital skills gap.