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UTC Heathrow collaborates with industry partners on data centre skills curriculum

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Skills shortage

The new partnership aims to tackle the long-term skills shortage in the UK data centre industry, with a data centre-focussed curriculum for 14-19 year olds.

The University Technical College Heathrow (UTC Heathrow) is teaming up with industry experts on a new Digital Futures Programme, which will equip learners with the skills necessary for technical careers in the data centre industry.

UTC Heathrow developed the programme in collaboration with industry partners, including CNet Training, CyrusOne, Virtus Data Centres, CBRE, Amazon Web Services, LMG, ARK Data Centres and Yondr. All collaborators have contributed funding and resources to support the programme, and will help to define and deliver the programme.

The partnership hopes to provide a clearly defined path into the sector by improving STEM skills and raising awareness of the variety of careers possible.

The annual intake for the Digital Futures Programme is limited to 100 students at age 14, and 150 students studying the Level 3 engineering curriculum. Alongside studying for their GCSEs, younger students will take part in masterclasses and develop employability skills, while older students will complete team projects within the curriculum.

Upon completion of the programme, students will leave UTC Heathrow with a BTEC Level 3 National Diploma/Extended Diplomas in Engineering and Aeronautical Engineering (NQF).

“The data centre industry is experiencing a critical skills shortage and initiatives like this are imperative to securing the future of this sector,” said Steve Hayward, Senior Director, European Operations at CyrusOne.

“The time is now for organisations to get creative on ways to both maintain their current workforce and help grow their talent pool for the future. We are looking forward to see the opportunities that this partnership will provide and hope to see this initiative replicated across other UTCs around the UK.” 

Andrew Stevens, President and CEO of CNet, added, “The skills gap is not getting any easier for the digital infrastructure industry. We all need to work together and do it in a way that will make a real difference at a time when young people need inspiration, support, and the opportunity to secure a career with huge opportunities. This is a problem that the industry can only tackle head-on by working collectively; we need to showcase the amazing career opportunities within the data centre sector and help young people to prepare for and access them

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