Farry and Foster launch third Software Testers’ Academy

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry and Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster today launched the third cohort of the Software Testers’ Academy.

The programme aims to provide graduates with the skills and experience required to take up exciting new opportunities in the Information and Communications Technology industry. Software testing and quality assurance is increasingly a key growth area in this internationally focused sector.

Minister Farry said: “The Software Testers’ Academy is an excellent example of a government intervention to improve the skills of unemployed graduates, whilst at the same time providing skills that our employers need in an increasingly important sector for the future of our economy. The results of the Academies to date have been excellent, with 92% of trainees from diverse academic backgrounds securing employment in software testing. I would encourage any unemployed graduate to consider a career in the vibrant and growing local ICT sector.”

The Academy has been designed by Northern Ireland’s top ICT companies with support from the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland under the Assured Skills initiative. It was developed collectively between government and the ICT sector and will be delivered by South Eastern Regional College and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “The success of the Academy is underpinned by a clear commitment from the ICT sector in Northern Ireland which has worked closely with Invest NI and DEL to articulate its needs and help to design and deliver industry-relevant solutions. The close and continued collaboration between industry and government has clearly delivered results for a key sector in Northern Ireland and will deliver significant benefits to the economy in the longer term.”

Reminding employers of the work being taken forward to support the ICT sector, Minister Farry stated: “I have worked closely with other government Departments, employers and our local further education colleges and universities, through the ICT Working Group, to develop and implement an ICT Skills Action Plan. The Plan has already produced a number of positive results in support of the ICT sector since its launch in summer 2012. We have developed a Public/Private ICT Apprenticeship Scheme and our local universities are now offering postgraduate MScs in Software, aimed at non-IT graduates with over 100 individuals enrolled. The introduction of a new Software and Systems Development A Level from September 2013 will also help to increase the level of skills and attract more young people into the industry.”

Targeting HND or degree or equivalent graduates from any discipline, the Academy will offer an intensive 15-week training programme, including a company placement, to 32 successful applicants. Participants will gain an industry recognised qualification and a potential offer of employment.

Applications to the Software Testers Academy will close on 8 July and the training programme for successful applicants will start during September and run until December 2013.