National Software Academy expansion secures long term investment in Newport
14 July 2017
Cardiff University’s National Software Academy will expand into new offices in Newport in preparation for the 2018/19 academic year.
The move will help to accommodate the ever-growing cohort of students choosing to study for a degree at the Academy, which offers a unique and innovative programme that is heavily focussed on engagement with industry.
The Academy, which is currently based at The Platform building in Newport will take up residence in Newport City Council’s Information Station in the city’s old railway station building.
The new facilities will also enable the Academy to expand its teaching facilities and help to achieve one of its key goals, which is to provide students with a study space that mimics a workplace environment and integrates industry working practices.
“real life” projects
The Academy was established in partnership with Welsh Government and industry leaders, including the Newport-based Alacrity Foundation, and its ethos is centred on giving students “real life” projects to work on throughout their studies and providing opportunities to engage with experienced software engineers from industry.
Professor Rudolf Allemann, Pro Vice-Chancellor College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, said: “The expansion of the National Software Academy is a clear sign of success. I’m delighted that the University has been able to maintain a presence in Newport and therefore continue to forge a strong relationship between our two great cities...”
Trailblazer of the Year
The Academy has made significant strides in the past two years, growing its student numbers, hosting ministerial visits and family open days, and picking up a number of technology awards. In June 2017 the Academy picked up the ‘Trailblazer of the Year’ award in the ESTnet Wales Technology Awards.
The current three-year degree programme (BSc Applied Software Engineering) is run by Cardiff University’s School of Computer Science & Informatics and is helping to address the current unmet demand for skilled software engineers in Wales. The Academy is also aiming to introduce a new Master’s programme with effect from September 2018.
Market research undertaken by Welsh Government predicts that industries in Wales demand around 3,000 IT professionals each year. The supply of skilled graduates from universities is low, which means the demand is currently not being met.
Furthermore, software engineering graduates are perceived by industry to be lacking in a number of essential skills to make them ready for the workplace once they leave university.
Skills and Science Minister, Julie James, said: “Wales is already the fastest growing digital economy outside London, with a Tech Sector that employs some 40,000 people and is worth over £8 billion in turnover to the Welsh economy...”
“I am delighted we have been able to support the expansion of this academy, which is fully aligned to our vision of attracting and building capability in this area.”