Tackling long term data centre skills shortages
techUK held a joint call with operators, the Baker Dearing Educational Trust / University Technical College (UTC) Heathrow and CNet Training on Friday 11th December. This call was open to all but particularly aimed at operators with sites in West London and Thames Valley and further afield, and other employers such as contractors and vendors who are active in the area.
Mike Halliday, from the Baker Dearing Trust explained how, due to a change in focus at UTC Heathrow, there was an opportunity for operators to partner with this college to train learners between 14-19 in skills that would equip them for a career in the data centre sector, whether directly, via an apprenticeship or higher education.
This opening has arisen because UTC Heathrow, based less than 20 miles from Slough's Industrial Trading Estate, is proposing to redesign their existing curriculum to add the data centre sector as a new career path option.
For this to go ahead, UTC Heathrow needs ten partners from the industry to help design a specialist technical curriculum, design project-base learning and provide work experience placements in and around the Slough area, the largest data centre cluster in the UK. CNet Training has already offered to share part of their curriculum as a contribution in kind.
In terms of resource, the UTC needs a collective contribution of £120K per year from the industry (£12K per partner) to ensure the programme is fully funded. Around 30 days of staff time will also be needed. It is not a trivial undertaking for operators so it does need top level engagement.
Operators need to decide whether they would like to partner with UTC Heathrow and if so, to commit by 31st January 2021.
More information can be found in the documents below, which include the presentations from the call and an FAQ for operators. You are of course welcome to get in touch directly with the Baker Dearing Trust. Links and details are below: