IBM and SQA have signed a three year non-exclusive Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on Scottish education and training awards within the SCQF.

Collaboration will initially focus on IBM's System i academic programme which has been redeveloped for the UK academic market following employer demand from IBM's customer base to address the current skills shortage. The programme enables young people to acquire System i skills and experience and to prepare them for a job with the System i customers and business partners.

The new programme has been developed specifically with colleges in mind and will be introduced country-wide for the first time in Scotland. The agreement with SQA will cover:

IBM will donate electronic content for the System i course suite to SQA for use within Scottish education. IBM will also provide Trainer Training opportunities and Support as part of the introduction of the System i academic programme into Scottish colleges and universities.

An education partner will be selected through open tender process to act as a champion for the SQA IBM collaboration.

Cally Beck, System I Academic Initiative Program Manager in the UK, said:

'We are delighted to be working with SQA focusing on the System i Academic Initiative. We've already had very positive feedback from our Scottish customers and partners who have expressed a desire to become directly involved in this programme because it offers them the opportunity to partner with a college in their local area. It means that Scottish students will acquire a level of knowledge and experience that will increase their chances of employment and career progression. At the same time, Scottish employers benefit from a trained employee already equipped with System i skills and able to make a valuable contribution to the organisation from the outset.'