Talk about the law of coincidences. Just a couple of days after I wrote about the need for universities to be more pro-active about bridging the gap between academic work and business experience, I got a press release from the University of the West of England (UWE) to improve employability for computing graduates.

What the university is proposing is a degree programme that builds in work experience - well, there’s nothing radical about that, my own university (and many others) were doing that 30 years ago. However, this particular degree is being made possible by the support of HP, so there’s already an industrial sponsor for these students.

Moving one step further on, HP is also supporting the development of an innovation centre at the university to provide a range of learning tools for students, allowing them to mirror real-world experiences.

These type of developments are exactly the sort of thing that I was talking about and that more universities should be doing. It's great to see companies like HP getting involved in ventures too.

What would be really inventive would be see some of the companies that are really going to drive enterprise computing: the virtualisation vendors, the cloud providers and hosting companies getting involved in this sort of approach. The better prepared that IT students are for the modern world, the more efficient their employers become.

I'd love to hear more about this sorts of collaboration and other incentives to prepare IT students for life outside academia - it certainly seems that universities are getting the message.

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