With this year’s Dynamo 18 conference theme of “Region of the future – innovate, learn, grow” tombola’s recent announcement of their partnership with the University of Sunderland to launch a degree apprenticeship scheme is a timely reminder that perhaps the biggest challenge facing tech firms in the region is attracting and developing the right talent.
The Sunderland based software developer of high quality online entertainment, focussed around affordable bingo and their version of casino games, will initially take on four school leavers per year on their Degree Apprenticeship, supporting them through a Digital & Technology Solutions Professional degree, specialising in Software Engineering. They will provide them with a paid apprenticeship during their degree, giving 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. Degree apprenticeships help to bridge this gap.
James Beard, tombola 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, in-demand degree and a job at the end of it and we get high calibre, qualified, loyal, motivated employees who know our business. And if they don’t end up working for tombola, other companies in the region’s 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 said, “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.”
Beard, concludes, “We want to create a legacy of employment, skills and improved infrastructure in the region 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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