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Jon Kennard

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News: HP institute launches

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Technology giant Hewlett Packard has launched the HP Institute, an academic partnership programme designed to equip students with end-to-end, business-ready IT skills.

The firm wants to partner with UK schools, colleges and universities to deliver a curriculum that will improve the IT skills of more than 20,000 people over the next four years.
 
The programme comprises of four modules that teach industry-standard technologies, including IT service management standard ITIL, and aims to equip students with the skills to deploy end-to-end IT solutions in small and medium-sized companies.
 
Nick Wilson, vice president and managing director of HP UK and Ireland, commented at the launch of the scheme:  “Customers 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. HP is starting the Institute programme to address this need.”
 
Now the cynical will suggest that what this means in the mid to long term is a breed of HP-savvy tech workers to go out into the mainstream. That’s a perfectly valid approach of course. Microsoft has been targeting the education sector for years with the same underlying agenda while Apple’s early days were marked by the sudden appearance of little grey boxes in universities, resulting in the graduation of an Apple-biased generation.
 
HP seems to concede that there is an inevitable HP-flavour to the scheme, but insists that the skills agenda is more wide-reaching than that. “By the time kids have reached 16 they have no desire to do stem skills,” said Wilson. “That’s simply not good enough…I don’t think it is good enough that the industry stands by and says it is not good enough. I think we have to get involved. There is a skills gap and we have to fill it... We’re massively trying to invest in education.”
 
De Montfort University (DMU) is one of the HP Institute launch partners. It piloted the programme in its Informatics department in January, and plans to offer certain modules of the programme in all its degrees, in order to improve the technology skills of all students, regardless of their subject area. Professor Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor at DMU, explained: “We want to extent this into the area of performing arts and into fashion, because ICT pervades all parts of society.”
 
The course will be delivered via elearning solutions and textbooks, and students will also have access to an HP remote lab, which gives students virtual access to up-to-date equipment they would find in the workplace. On successful completion of the HP Institute course, students gain an HP Accredited Technical Associate qualification, part of the HP ExpertONE certification.
 
Vince Cable, secretary of state for business, innovation and skills, is backing the new Institute. “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,” he said. “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.”

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Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard
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