On May 30, tombola has announced it is launching a degree apprenticeship scheme in partnership with University of Sunderland.
tombola, the Sunderland-based software developer of online entertainment focusing on affordable bingo, will initially take on four school leavers per year on its degree apprenticeship, supporting them through a digital and technology solutions professional degree, specialising in software engineering.
The apprenticeship will be paid. During their degree, students will receive practical experience and on the job training alongside their debt-free studies. Upon graduation, tombola has a clear intention to offer them full-time roles, with the potential to build a long-term career with the company.
With a shortage of coding and software development skills widely acknowledged as a significant problem facing the digital economy, tombola believes investing in these skills is crucial to the future economic success of the region and the country.
But to ensure this investment has long-term benefits it is essential there is a direct connection between what people are being taught and what skills firms actually need.
Supposedly, degree apprenticeships could help to bridge this gap.
James Beard, tombola’s chief operating officer, said: “Using the Apprenticeship Levy funds to invest in Degree Apprenticeships is a no brainer and a great opportunity to put this to good use – both for the students and us.
“The students get a debt free degree and a job at the end of it and we get qualified, loyal, motivated employees who know our business. And if they don’t end up working for tombola, other companies in the digital economy also benefit – it is a win-win situation.”
Professor Alastair Irons, Academic Dean for Faculty of Computer Science at the University of Sunderland, added: “We are delighted to partner with tombola to help bridge the skills gap.
“We run a choice of programmes that incorporate the cutting-edge requirements needed to succeed in the digital and tech sector.
“Our degree apprenticeships provide opportunities to students of all ages and from all backgrounds and we are putting significant investment into enhancing our academics, curriculum and facilities to meet the needs of the business and industry sectors.”
As a result of their long-term investment, tombola aims to boost and retain technology skills and talent not only across the region but also to meet their own needs for smart software developers as the company continues to grow.
With tombola developing all their own software in-house, growing their own talent to join their existing 450 employees is essential to their continued success.
Beard concluded: “We want to create a legacy of employment, skills and improved infrastructure and our degree apprenticeship scheme, alongside investments such as our new, high spec HQ, is another clear demonstration of our commitment to this.”
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