Oracle is planning to introduce Java programming and skills training to its academic education programme, as part of its ongoing work to plug the IT employment gap.
The new classes – called Java Fundamentals and Java Programming – will form part of the Oracle Academy curriculum, which is used by secondary schools and higher education institutes to inform their IT curriculum.
The Java courses are currently being piloted by 39 teachers across the UK and Scotland, and are expected to become a fully fledged part of Oracle’s curriculum during the 2012/2013 academic year.
Jane Richardson, EMEA senior manager of the Oracle Education Foundation, said a firm grounding in Java is important for students that want to pursue a career in IT.
“It’s used in billions of mobile devices and across the internet. There are not many applications that don’t require Java,” she told IT Pro.
“When we look at young people who want to have a career in the IT industry, Java is almost the most important language they have to learn, alongside SQL and C++.”
Citing recent labour market figures from IT training council e-Skills, Richardson said the new courses were also designed to meet the growing demand for Java programmers.
“E-skills’ data shows employment in IT is set grow by two times the national average through to 2020.
We are also seeing that there are over 750,000 jobs unfilled across Europe in programming and IT skills, particularly in Java, SQL and C++,” said Richardson.
“There’s a huge interest from students in these languages because they want to develop these applications themselves.”
The teachers that take part in the pilot programme will be certified to teach the Java Curriculum to their students using a mix of online and classroom-based teaching.
Students that complete the Oracle courses typically use them to enter the world of work or to add weight to their university and college applications, added Richardson.
“We’ve also had students study [other Oracle Academy] courses that have gone into law and other disciplines [because] the ability to recognise and analyse data is not industry-specific,” she said.
“The use of technology is not industry-specific and more and more of what we do in our everyday lives relies on our ability to understand how to take and use data in a business context.”
Caroline Cheverton, director of enterprise computing at the Leigh Technology Academy, has been putting students through Oracle’s programmes since 2002.
Speaking to IT Pro, Cheverton said some of her students have also used the skills gained through Oracle courses to set up their own IT businesses.
“It is an entrepreneurial curriculum. Some of my students have got into designing mobile apps, databases and have set up small businesses, which they have used to fund their university education,” she said.
“It is not just about developing more employees for big businesses, but allowing the SMB sector to flourish, too.”