Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Arlene Foster today hosted an awards ceremony for graduates from the Software Testers’ Academy.
The Academy trained 27 graduates with the skills and accredited qualifications identified by the 20 participating employers for new job opportunities in their respective companies.
At the ceremony in the Long Gallery at Parliament Buildings, Minister Farry congratulated the graduates on completing the Academy, and said: “The Software Testers’ Academy is an excellent example of how the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest NI support graduates to find employment. My Department worked closely with employers and the further education sector to design and develop this Academy to up skill HND and Degree graduates, from any discipline, to be Software Testers. The majority of Software Tester’ Academy trainees have gained employment with their work placement company.
“The Academy model has been very successful and is now being offered in a number of areas, including Data Analytics and Cloud Technologies. It is also being further developed to meet employer demands in other sectors including manufacturing with the Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Academy.”
Arlene Foster said: “Matching the skillsets of our graduates with industry needs is vital to ensuring that Northern Ireland remains an attractive location for inward investment and a fertile ground for indigenous company growth. The impressive degree of industry engagement has been pivotal in the development of the Academy and a critical factor in its success to date.
“My Department through Invest Northern Ireland works continuously to meet the skills needs of the ICT industry in Northern Ireland and I would encourage any unemployed graduate to consider a career in this vibrant and growing sector.”
The ceremony was attended by the Academy trainees with their guests, along with employer representatives and the two delivery colleges, South Eastern Regional College and Belfast Metropolitan College.
Ken Webb Principal and Chief Executive of SERC commented: “South Eastern Regional College is delighted to have delivered the training element of the Software Testers’ Academy for the third time. The Academy has been an outstanding success for students and businesses. In providing these highly specialist skills in a cost effective and innovative manner it further demonstrates the value that the Further Education sector delivers to the Northern Ireland economy.”
Justin Edwards, Assistant Chief Executive and Director of Curriculum, Belfast Met, said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to the graduates from the Software Testers’ Academy which is part of a suite of successful IT academies delivered at Belfast Met. By working in partnership with employers, the Department, awarding organisations and regional Further Education Colleges we are training potential employees so that they have the right skills at the right time. The benefits of this response to the software industry skills gap are that people are finding employment and have confidence in committing to a fulfilling career in ICT whilst businesses are tailoring training and accessing candidates with the right attributes and skills to deliver their projects.”
Thirty two trainees started the Academy with sixteen in each college. Twenty nine completed the nine week college based training, gaining an industry recognised qualification, the foundation level ISTQB/ISEB, at SERC’s Lisburn Campus and at Belfast Met’s e3 Campus.
Twenty seven trainees completed the fifteen week programme that included a six week work placement.