Press Release: 30 May 2012

HP launches Institute Programme to bridge IT skills gap in Northern Ireland

Initiative will provide SMEs with business-ready IT skills
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Pictured (l-r): Justin Edwards, Martin Murphy and Andrew Flood

HP today announced the launch of the HP Institute, an academic partnership programme that will provide students with the business-ready IT skills that are in deficit within the economy.

The announcement by Martin Murphy, Managing Director, HP Ireland, comes amid reports from IT skills body e-skills UK that the IT skills shortage in Northern Ireland is still the worst in the UK .

[Pictured (l-r): Justin Edwards, Director of Curriculum and Assistant CEO at Belfast Metropolitan College, Martin Murphy, Managing Director, HP Ireland and Andrew Flood, Chief Operating Officer, Prodigy Learning]

Speaking to an audience of senior private and public sector business leaders from across Northern Ireland at Queen’s University Belfast today, Mr Murphy said: “IT has a pervasive impact on all sectors of the economy, enabling innovation, productivity enhancements and greater customer and market reach. 

“However, despite the fact that there are hundreds of IT professionals in Northern Ireland who are currently unemployed and looking for work, there are numerous job openings that go unfulfilled. But the issue here isn’t the availability of people – it’s the availability of people with the right skills for today’s needs, and that’s why HP is starting the Institute programme in Northern Ireland.”

HP is the first IT vendor to bring practical experience and job-ready skills into an academic setting, packaged in a way to help Northern Ireland up skill its workforce and address emerging skills demands in areas such as cloud computing. 

“We are working closely with the education sector in Northern Ireland to bridge this wide IT skills gap by providing the precise skills and experience businesses need most to help them succeed today and in the future.”

Justin Edwards, Director of Curriculum and Assistant CEO at Belfast Metropolitan College explained how the College has recently completed a pre-release pilot of the HP Institute programme: “Cloud computing is very much a buzz phrase in the IT industry at the minute, with more and more businesses moving that way every day. However, there is very little in the way of certification for IT professionals in this area and certainly no other qualification encompassing such a broad spectrum of skills. Belfast Met is committed to enhancing the employability and work-readiness of its learners and to acting as a key driver for innovation and growth in the local economy. We were therefore instantly attracted by the industry-relevance and potential of HP Institute, with its strong focus on cloud computing.

“Students and staff alike were very impressed by the pilot and, as a result, we are now planning to run more of these courses, combining on-line learning with classroom-based teaching initially. We’re targeting IT professionals who wish to study part-time with us whilst having to balance work commitments. That’s the big advantage of the HP Institute – it allows the students to work remotely, meaning that they can learn in their own time, fitting their studies in around their work schedule and other commitments.”

Each module of the HP programme teaches industry-standard technologies, through courseware, practice tests and hands-on labs. Including modules on cloud computing, the courses have been designed to provide skills that are particularly appropriate for small and medium-sized companies – a sector which HP recently announced as a focus for its support and investment.

Through the HP Institute, HP will help students improve their career and earning potential via industry recognised qualifications and education that provides practical experience with industry-standard solutions. By offering the HP Accredited Technical Associate (ATA) qualification, academic institutions can elevate degree programmes to potential employers by providing more rounded and better qualified graduates with much needed technology skills, expertise, and business insight.

HP’s delivery partner in the UK and Ireland for the HP Institute is Prodigy Learning. Prodigy Learning will work closely with schools, colleges and universities in Northern Ireland to help them to get up and running quickly with the new HP certifications.

Andrew Flood, Chief Operating Officer, Prodigy Learning, said:
“Prodigy Learning is delighted to be working on the development and rollout of this cutting edge curriculum and certification programme across the UK and Ireland. Our role is to manage this new HP certification in country and support institutions who are interested in offering the hands-on job relevant experience offered by this programme to their students.

“I’d encourage all to take advantage of this launch phase to explore HP Accredited Technical Associate and see if your institution can help address the IT skills gap in Northern Ireland.”

Academic institutions looking for further information can email Prodigy Learning: hp@prodigysolutions.com. For a preview, teachers and schools can register for the HP ATA preview programme at: www.certiport.com/hp

About HP Institute
The HP ATA is focused on the optimisation and implementation of end-to-end, multivendor, cross-platform IT solutions. Students will demonstrate an understanding and engagement with the business and how to leverage technology to achieve strategic business outcomes through connected innovation that far exceeds traditional ‘break-fix’ learning.
The HP Institute provides an industry leading transferable curriculum for the new HP ATA qualifications across five key areas: Connected Devices (PC, Printing); Networks; Servers and Storage; and Cloud Computing.
As well as providing skills across the whole technology stack, the cloud module will provide cross-technology integration information and a foundation in business acumen for IT leaders.

The HP Institute focuses on hands-on practical know-how, including remote labs experience, giving students virtual access to the up-to-date equipment they will find in the workplace and removing the need for educational establishments to invest in new hardware.

View the HP ATA video here: http://bit.ly/yxvSHk

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About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. With the broadest technology portfolio spanning printing, personal systems, software, services and IT infrastructure, HP delivers solutions for customers’ most complex challenges in every region of the world. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com