CyrusOne and techUK partner on UK's first Data Center UTC
University Technical College (UTC) Heathrow, a government-funded school with a STEM focus, is offering a new career path option for students who want to break into the data centre industry.
UTC Heathrow (pictured) is enhancing its curriculum to allow students to gain the knowledge and skills needed in the data centre sector.
The curriculum has been designed in close collaboration with CNet Training (CNet), VIRTUS Data Centres, CyrusOne, CBRE, AWS, LMG, ARK Data Centres (Crown Hosting Data Centres Limited) and Yondr, who have all committed funding and resources to the programme.
“The data centre industry is experiencing a critical skills shortage and initiatives like this are imperative to securing the future of this sector,” said Steve Hayward, senior director, European operations at CyrusOne.
“The time is now for organisations to get creative on ways to both maintain their current workforce and help grow their talent pool for the future. We are looking forward to see the opportunities that this partnership will provide and hope to see this initiative replicated across other UTCs around the UK.”
techUK is also involved. Associate director Emma Fryer said: “I’m absolutely delighted that data centre operators, many of whom are competitors, are pulling together as a team to define and deliver a meaningful long-term benefit for the sector – a pipeline of young talent with the skills we need.”
The industry first will see is hoped to increase the number of students with diverse STEM skills to meet the industry’s technical needs for domestic talent, whole raising awareness and positioning the sector as a career destination of choice.
In the UK UTCs are open to learners aged 14-19 and are dedicated to an alternative way of teaching technical and scientific subjects for aspiring engineers, scientists and technicians.
On the details for this scheme, UTC Heathrow said the annual intake is limited to 100 students aged 14, and a further 150 students studying the Level 3 engineering curriculum.
Supplementing their developing technical skills, younger students will compete in industry-led "challenge days", develop employability skills, and receive masterclasses to bring subjects to life, alongside studying for their GCSEs.
Meanwhile older students will complete team projects within the curriculum, and benefit from building impactful relationships with industry professionals.
Andrew Stevens, President and CEO of CNet, who helped create and develop the Digital Futures Program alongside UTC Heathrow, added: “The skills gap is not getting any easier for the digital infrastructure industry. We all need to work together and do it in a way that will make a real difference at a time when young people need inspiration, support, and the opportunity to secure a career with huge opportunities.
"This is a problem that the industry can only tackle head-on by working collectively; we need to showcase the amazing career opportunities within the data centre sector and help young people to prepare for and access them."