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Queen's and PwC bring new technology degree to Northern Ireland

Professor Ian Williams from Queen's; David Quinn PwC and Jim Wilkinson, Department for the Economy

A NEW technology apprenticeship leading to a degree has been unveiled by Queen's University Belfast.

The four-year technology degree apprenticeship programme has been designed by PricewaterhouseCoopers in partnership with universities.

Starting in September 2018, it will give 100 students per year a traditional university experience and degree in computer science or software engineering.

This will be combined with practical work-based technology projects at PwC, tailored course content and a salary.

Professor Ian Williams, Dean of Education for the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Queen's said investment in talent and skills was vital in boosting the economy.

"Over two thirds of UK CEOs say they're having difficulty recruiting people with digital skills, a quarter of UK manufacturing businesses see skills shortages as inhibiting output, while a third of financial services undertakings are constrained by a lack of professional staff," he said.

"Technology is changing the world and at Queen's, through world class teaching and facilities, we are training the next generation of graduates to ensure that Northern Ireland can develop to its full potential."

Costs will be covered for students as university fees will be paid through the Department for the Economy.

PwC's head of regions Paul Terrington said the degree apprenticeship being available in Belfast was "dispelling the myth that all tech talent needs to be trained and employed in London".

"Northern Ireland has been identified as having considerable growth potential for financial services and advanced manufacturing, but in a competitive post-Brexit world, it is vital that we invest now in the people and skills that can deliver on this potential," he said.

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