A £13m initiative designed to boost the growth and competitiveness of digital technology in Wales was launched this week by Lesley Griffiths, deputy minister for science, innovation and skills.
Software Alliance Wales (SAW) will target support to ICT businesses and professionals working in the industry to ensure they keep abreast of the rapid pace of technological developments. It also aims to increase higher-level ICT skills across all business and industry sectors.
The project has a specific focus on the highly specialised area of software development and is backed with £8m from the European Social Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
Led by Swansea University – and delivered in partnership with Glamorgan, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Wales Trinity Saint David universities – it is anticipated that more than 2,400 businesses and individuals will benefit from the initiative over the next four years.
A key part of the project is the creation of a recognised ICT Continuous Professional Development programme for professionals to acquire new skills in the latest technologies.
The project will also help businesses to gain Accredit UK certification, a benchmark recognised throughout the UK designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of companies.
SAW will also offer students the chance to undertake collaborative ICT-based development projects within SMEs to improve their learning while providing knowledge and expertise for the businesses involved.
Training workshops will also be held for companies working in any sector to increase the general awareness and understanding of ICT and the opportunities it presents to improve performance.
The business ICT workshops will cover a range of topics and trends ranging from online marketing to search engine optimisation. The workshops will also provide businesses with opportunities to network and collaborate with academia and partner organisations.