Degree partnership with PwC creates new career opportunities in technology

A partnership between global firm PwC and the University has created a new degree apprenticeship in computer science, an innovative way for young people to launch a career in technology.

The computer science programme is one of two degree apprenticeships and one higher apprenticeship developed by the University of Leeds, in response to a Government drive to bring together the best of higher education and vocational training.

Combining invaluable "on the job" training in paid employment with study for a degree qualification, it aims to meet the demands of employers, address skills gaps and enhance UK productivity.

Next generation of technology talent

PwC, one of the UK’s largest graduate employers, is working with the University to create a new fully-funded technology undergraduate degree apprenticeship in computer science.

One of the first and largest examples of the new degree apprenticeships, the four year BSc course, has been designed to help address the UK’s technology skills gap and improve the industry’s diversity.

PwC research has found 67% of UK chief executives found it difficult to recruit people with digital skills. Additional research by the firm found that only 27% of women A-level and university students would consider a career in technology, compared to 62% of men.

Professor Peter Jimack, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Leeds, said: “Deepening the relationship between universities and leading private sector businesses is one of the key ways academia can support the UK’s economy.

“By working together with PwC we can use the latest research to educate apprentices, who will benefit greatly from also having significant workplace training on top of their academic studies”

By working together with PwC we can use the latest research to educate apprentices, who will benefit greatly from also having significant workplace training on top of their academic studies.

Professor Peter Jimack, Dean of Engineering

“These courses are the latest way we are adapting traditional modes of higher education to create a skilled workforce with the experience needed by employers, who can contribute as soon as they begin work.”

“Apprentices will need to satisfy equivalent rigorous entry criteria as all our other applicants, but will benefit from a monthly salary and considerable practical experience from PwC.

"At Leeds we have a long-standing commitment to, and record of success in, attracting students from all backgrounds to study with us and we see this Degree Apprenticeship as being one more example of this commitment."

Initially 40 apprentices will be accepted on to the programme from September 2018. At the end of their studies, they will receive a University of Leeds degree in Computer Science and a job at PwC, if they meet performance criteria.

Kevin Ellis, chairman and senior partner at PwC, added: “For the UK to prosper post-Brexit we need to invest in creating a vibrant tech sector right across the country and more people with the skills needed to help businesses transform.

“People often perceive that all the tech talent needs to be in London, but with our programme we are opening up the opportunities right across the country and to people who may have thought that university or technology careers were out of their reach.”

Further information

Further degree apprenticeships are planned at the University, as the market for this new approach to higher level training and education grows. The University is seeking to work with leading UK and global employers to develop programmes to suit their needs. For further information, contact David Gardner.

Journalists with further questions or interview requests should contact Peter Le Riche in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 2049.

The above picture shows students on the University's existing Computer Science degree programme.