Minister meets students on innovative Software Tester Academy

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry today learnt how students were progressing from the first cohort of the Software Testers Academy.

During a visit to the South Eastern Regional College, Lisburn campus, Dr Farry said: “The Software Testers’ Academy is an excellent example of supporting graduates to find employment. My Department has worked closely with Invest Northern Ireland, several local information technology companies and South East Regional College to design and develop a 14 week course to convert 20 non-IT graduates into software testers. This Programme proves that government, the private sector and our further education colleges can respond quickly to design a bespoke programme to fill a skills gap. I am confident that, on completion, the students will be well placed to find relevant and valuable employment.

“Matching the skillsets of our graduates with industry needs is vital for economic growth in Northern Ireland. Through our Assured Skills initiative, my Department is focused on working with employers to ensure they have the skilled workforce they need – both now and for the future.”

In August this year, the Department for Employment and Learning in partnership with Invest NI launched the ‘Software Testers Academy’ to provide graduates with a recognised qualification and the aptitudes to pursue a career in a thriving IT industry.

Twenty graduates, from a range of disciplines, were accepted on to the 14 week academy. Students undertake eight weeks of training which is delivered by SERC followed by a six week placement with companies like Allstate, Citi and Liberty IT.

Ken Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of SERC added: “In today’s society the use of information technologies in both the workplace and at home is increasing by the day. It is vital that for future economic growth and continued prosperity of this sector that there is sufficient numbers of trained professionals to meet the increasing demand.

“The Software Testers Academy provides an excellent opportunity for degree graduates who are struggling to secure employment within their chosen discipline to retrain and up-skill in a niche function within a thriving industry. The students will benefit greatly from the combination of classroom learning and work experience.”