IT businesses create new route to employment in the North East

A new industry-backed course to prepare young people for apprenticeships in IT has been launched by e-skills UK and Newcastle College. Local employers including Accenture, Fluid Pixel, HP, Ubisoft and many small firms in Sunderland Software City have collaborated on this new route into technology careers.

The year-long pre-apprenticeship course will begin in September 2013. It will use real world projects, provided by the employers, to give 16 to 17 year olds the skills, qualifications and experience they need to secure an IT apprenticeship.

The course was formally launched at a recent hands-on taster day, attended by around 90 teenagers from across the North East. They got the chance to meet young IT professionals and former apprentices, and find out more about the new course. AppShed, Arduino, MaKey MaKey and Scratch workshops were also held, to highlight the challenges an IT career can provide.

Alec Berry, Software Specialist at Sunderland Software City, explains: “By showing young people innovative technologies and highlighting the problems that IT people solve in the real world, you can really excite them about a future in our field. Events and courses like this do just that and we’re proud to support them.”

Feedback from the young people at the day was similarly positive: “Very cool,” said one attendee; “It’s amazing how you can easily make apps!” said another; “Certainly very useful in today’s world,” commented a third.

Janet Richards, Programme Manager at e-skills UK, says: “There are exciting jobs that require digital skills in all kind of industries, from automotive and sport to music and design. This new pre-apprenticeships course will give more teenagers the expertise and confidence they need to start a career in IT.”

For more information, visit or contact

The pre-apprenticeship course is supported by the UKCES’ Employer Investment Fund.