Belfast Metropolitan College Pilots HP Institute
With over 30,000 students, Belfast Metropolitan College is the largest college in Northern Ireland. Belfast Met prides itself on developing its curriculum to meet today’s skills needs and anticipate those of the future. The school also aims to support its students into employment.
In order to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, Belfast Met recently opened its award-winning Titanic Quarter campus, which includes e3, a state-of-the-art economic development building designed to enhance employability, teach skills, and foster pioneering approaches to economic development.
Martin Murphy, Managing Director of HP in Ireland, said: "Despite the fact that there are hundreds of IT professionals in Northern Ireland who are currently unemployed and looking for work, there are numerous job openings that go unfulfilled. But the issue here isn’t the availability of people— it's the availability of people with the right skills for today’s needs."
Belfast Met was looking to provide students with the most current technologies to meet the skills gap, such as cloud computing skills.
"Cloud computing is very much a buzz phrase in the IT industry at the minute, with more and more businesses moving that way every day," said Justin Edwards, Director of Curriculum and Deputy CEO, Belfast Metropolitan College. "However, there is very little in the way of certification for IT professionals in this area and certainly no other qualification encompassing such a broad spectrum of skills."
Prodigy Learning, the facilitator of the HP Institute in the United Kingdom, first introduced the certification program to Belfast Met. The HP Institute provides certification for each of these essential IT segments: Connected Device Solutions, Network Solutions, Server and Storage Solutions, and Cloud Solutions.
"Belfast Met is committed to enhancing the employability and work-readiness of its learners and to acting as a key driver for innovation and growth in the local economy," said Edwards. "We were, therefore, instantly attracted by the industry-relevance and potential of HP Institute, with its strong focus on cloud computing."
Belfast Met students found the HP Institute program simple to use and implement. The included HP Remote Labs enable students to gain practical, hands-on experience without expensive capital budget to maintain costly hardware updates.
"Students and staff alike were very impressed by the pilot and, as a result, we are now planning to run more of these courses, combining online learning with classroom-based teaching initially," says Edwards. "We’re targeting IT professionals who wish to study part-time with us whilst having to balance work commitments. That's the big advantage of the HP Institute—it allows the students to work remotely, meaning that they can learn in their own time, fitting their studies in around their work schedule and other commitments.”
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