Bridging the UK IT skills gap with Certiport, aiming to certify over 20,000 people

HP today announced the launch of the HP Institute, an academic partnership programme that will provide students with the business-ready IT skills that are in deficit within the industry.

HP is the first IT vendor to bring practical experience and job-ready skills into an academic setting, packaged in a way to help the UK up-skill its workforce. This is urgently needed as studies from sources such as e-Skills UK show a lack of job-focused IT skills in UK school leavers and graduates. Their UK Technology Insights 2011 report showed the UK is failing to capitalise on the £50 billion productivity gain which could be achieved through the better use of technology, particularly by smaller companies.[1]

HP will work with schools, colleges and universities across the UK to deliver the courses, aiming to improve the IT skills of over 20,000 people over the next four years.

“Customer and channel partners tell us that they are experiencing a growing shortage of job-ready IT professionals with the right skills to grow and innovate within our businesses,” commented Nick Wilson, vice president and managing director, HP UK and Ireland. “HP is starting the Institute programme to address this need. We are working with education to continuously enhance the talent pool of graduates with the precise skills and experience businesses need most to help them succeed today and in the future.”

Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, said: “It is this Government’s desire to improve technology education in the UK and the IT industry and companies like HP can play an important role in growing the UK talent pool.

“The UK workforce stands to gain from initiatives such as the Institute programme which will help provide strategic direction and ensure that companies have the right skills to grow in this rapidly changing world,” he continued.

Each module of the HP programme teaches industry-standard technologies, through courseware, practice tests and hands-on labs. Including modules on cloud computing, the courses have been designed to provide skills that are particularly appropriate for small and mid-sized companies – a sector which HP recently announced as a focus for its support and investment.

Through the HP Institute, HP will help students improve their career and earning potential via industry recognised qualifications and education that provides practical experience with industry-standard solutions. By offering the HP Accredited Technical Associate (ATA) qualification, academic institutions can elevate degree programmes to potential employers by providing more rounded and better qualified graduates with much needed technology skills, expertise, and business insight.

Professor Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor at De Montfort University (DMU), said: “DMU is proud to have been selected as a launch partner for the delivery of the HP Institute qualification programme. DMU is working harder than ever to prepare our graduates for the world of work. There is no doubt that our quality partnership with HP is essential in helping us to achieve this, as many aspects of our work together are designed to maximise the employability of our students. Everyone who took part in the HP Institute pilot programme at the university in January had a fantastic learning experience and saw exactly how the HP Institute can enhance their career prospects.”

HP will offer links between graduates and HP’s 8,000 strong alliance partner and reseller network in the UK, encouraging them to recruit ATA certified professionals and demonstrating a preference to hire graduates with ATA qualifications.

“Technology moves so rapidly it is hard for any organisation to keep pace, and finding employees who can help is a challenge,” said Mike Wheeler, solutions director at HP channel partner ProLinx. “The HP ATA is important because it allows us to find staff who really understand the technologies that businesses use now and they come to the site ready to work from day one.”

HP partnered with Certiport to distribute the programme because of its global academic scale and the expertise it brings to packaging the programme delivery for academic institutions. Certiport has over 12,000 testing centres worldwide.

CEO Ray Kelly, Certiport, said: “Certiport and HP are delighted to announce the availability of this new qualification programme that validates a students’ ability to design and develop end-to-end IT solutions. The new HP Accredited Technical Associate programme provides individuals with industry credentials that lead to job readiness and employability.”

HP Institute learning solutions will be distributed in the UK and Ireland by Prodigy Learning.

Andrew Flood, Chief Operating Officer, Prodigy Learning, said: “At Prodigy Learning we are delighted to be supporting the rollout of this cutting edge curriculum and certification programme. Our role is to support setup and delivery in schools, colleges and universities who are interested in offering the hands-on job relevant experience offered by this programme to their students. I’d encourage all to take advantage of this launch phase to explore HP Accredited Technical Associate and see if your institution can help address the UK skills gap in the area of Cloud Computing.”