IT skills gap sees firm set up in-house degree

One of Britain’s top high-tech companies is setting up a degree course to grow its own talent after struggling to recruit the people it needs.

Microchip design group ARM Holdings is developing a four-year Masters degree with Loughborough University as one of several schemes to increase the pool of talent available.

ARM is seen as one of the most successful companies in Britain. Its share price has risen 1,200 per cent since it floated two years ago. It entered the FTSE 100 this year and is now among the top 50 UK companies. It is worth £8bn.

But HR director Bill Parsons said that despite offering fantastic financial rewards and what he calls “the most interesting, exciting job you could have”, the company, is struggling to fill vacancies.

“Working for a company as generous and as successful as ours has got to be one of the most attractive propositions, but because of the skills shortage in IT we are having to work very hard to find people,” he said.

The 10-year-old company employs 525 people and is growing its head count by 30 per cent a year.

In the past it has exclusively hired experienced people, often going abroad to find them, but is now concentrating on nurturing talent and hiring inexperienced graduates.

With stock options, graduates start on a package of more than £40,000.

The Loughborough course will produce 20 hardware and software engineers each year, after taking them straight from school.

Students will be sponsored throughout their studies and given paid work by ARM during the holidays.

Other schemes to bring in talent include building relationships with 12 targeted universities and opening regional offices to target the local workforce in locations such as Sheffield and Nice in France.

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