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Top universities choose new apprenticeship to plug IT skills gap

Published: February 24, 2017

A ground breaking apprenticeship is being lauded by top universities for helping to plug a serious IT skills gap in the higher education sector.

The new SITS Software Developer Apprenticeship, which launched in September last year, is now being delivered nationally and has seen such high demand, a new intake of apprentices is taking place in June.

Nick Leake, chief information officer at King’s College, London, said the tackling the lack of Strategic Information Technology Service (SITS) professionals in the industry was a must.

“I recently went to the SITS 2016 conference in Wales to present with The Cornwall College Group (TCCG) on how the Apprenticeship programme will operate,” he continued.

“Over 20 universities and other Higher Education Institutes have collectively expressed interest in recruiting around 30 Apprentices.”

In 2015, King’s College London opened a new IT Service Centre on the outskirts of Newquay in Cornwall and established a partnership with local training provider CCB (Cornwall College Business).

As part of TCCG, CCB has worked closely with the UK’s leading IT companies to offer the Trailblazing Apprenticeship for universities, having recognised the gaps in the training available for IT specialists.


The new Trailblazer apprenticeships focus on developing the skills and knowledge to do a specific job; they are not based around qualifications frameworks and support the development of specific skills required by industry for specific job roles.

Jacqui Franklin, development manager and Trailblazer lead at TCCG said the standards “really meet the needs of the ever-changing business environment, allowing companies to develop the skills to become competitive and sustainable.”

Mike Trebilcock, programme manager for CCB said the “success and demand for this Apprenticeship is apparent as we have a full cohort from all across the UK”.

“We have apprentices from King’s College London, the University of Westminster, Oxford University and the University of Bath,” he continued.

“The two year programme is offered nationally and co-delivered with Tribal, with block week attendance being situated at an agreed location, accessible for all employers and candidates.”

The inclusion of Tribal, a provider of technology systems and services to education sectors around the world, in the training component of the apprenticeship, was vital according to CCB, as it gave apprentices access to the leading student and course management solutions, SITS:Vision.

A spokesperson from Tribal said the course “encompasses all the tools a developer will need to build and support the SITS system”.


One of the first apprentices to take the course, Connor Atkins, at Bath Spa University, said the apprenticeship is “living up to what I expected and more”.

“I have been enjoying the responsibilities at work and the work we have been doing with Tribal during the block release weeks, and I am excited to see what will happen in the future of the programme,” he said.

“Tribal coming down was the most relevant as it was hands on SITS experience.”

Due to the popularity of the unique course and high demand for SITS professionals in the UK, CCB is now recruiting for the next cohort of apprentices planned for June this year.

“Apprentices will be able to network as well as gain invaluable skills, it is easy to see why the Apprenticeship, as Nick Leake stated, is “a passport to a long term career”.

Contact CCB to discuss the SITS Apprenticeship or if you have any queries about apprenticeships in general on 0330 123 4785, email apprenticeships@cornwall.ac.uk or visit www.ccbtraining.co.uk.

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