Staff news

Graduate Apprentices to boost tech sector

The University is to help deliver Scotland’s first Graduate Apprenticeship in data science.

The new work-based route to a BSc degree will be delivered jointly with the University of St Andrews and global consulting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Its aim is to boost the skills base in Scotland’s fast-growing digital technology sector.

The fully-funded data science Graduate Apprenticeship is backed by Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

Backing growth

Graduate Apprenticeships support economic growth across industries including financial services, life sciences and advanced manufacturing.

Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Shirley-Anne Somerville said the Scottish Government is committed to developing a diverse array of educational pathways.  

This is a direct response to industry need, bringing the skills system, leading universities and employers closer together, helping create the skills and capabilities required to power the Scottish labour market of the future.

Shirley-Anne SomervilleMinister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

PwC will employ 20 data science Graduate Apprentices this September across the Universities of Edinburgh and St Andrews. There are plans to expand the programme to up to 80 places over four years.

David Brown, PwC’s Government leader in Scotland, believes the Graduate Apprenticeships will dispel that entry to the technology sector has to be through a traditional university route.  

New approaches to education, such as this, can help address the demand for digital skills by combining world-class teaching at university with work-based learning.

David BrownPwC’s Government leader in Scotland

The new Graduate Apprenticeship in data science will blend traditional university experience with learning on the job, tailored course content, great job prospects and a salary from day one.

PwC has already invested in technology programmes at Queen’s University Belfast and the Universities of Birmingham and Leeds.

Together, these are offering 100 students each year the chance to secure a degree in computer science or software engineering.

Talent flow

Work-based learning and Graduate Apprenticeships are key to supporting that talent pipeline.

Edinburgh's Senior Vice-Principal Professor Charlie Jeffery said that, over the past decade, Edinburgh has emerged as a major centre of tech innovation.

The biggest driving force had been the flow of people with the right data skills into the local economy.  

This partnership will be an important building block in achieving the ambition at the heart of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal - to establish the city as the data capital of Europe.

Professor Charlie JefferySenior Vice-Principal, University of Edinburgh

Principal and Vice-Chancellor of University of St Andrews, Sally Mapstone, described the new partnership as innovative, inventive, and informed.

She added that the model is one which has great potential for the Scottish higher education sector.

This year, 12 different types of Graduate Apprenticeship will be offered by 14 universities and colleges across Scotland.

Related links

More information on the Graduate Apprenticeship programme and how to apply

More information on PwC student careers opportunities

More information on Skills Development Scotland and Scottish apprenticeships