Code your future - Trainers' pool for HE programmes
“Code your future!” is a comprehensive programme consisting of several initiatives, contributing to support the labour market in the IT field in Hungary. The Trainers' pool initiative focuses on providing state of the art knowledge for university students, also related to the labor market needs in the country.
The large-scale national project "Code your future!" aims to increase the number of graduating students in the field of IT in the coming years and thereby contribute to address the current IT-staff shortage, which is becoming increasingly important for the national economy. The main goal of the project is to support the development of training on IT competences within higher education, so that the training system provides marketable knowledge that meets the needs of the economic actors. The project supports university students to learn about the technologies used by ICT companies.
The project is funded through the European Social Fund and implemented by KIFÜ, the Governmental Information-Technology Development Agency and the ICT Association of Hungary (IVSZ), which took a leading role, among other actions, in the implementation of the so-called Trainers’ pool concept and service.
The Trainers’ pool initiative aims to ensure that the knowledge that university students acquire as part of the classes at the university is up-to-date, practical, stemming from the industry so once they graduate, they have skills and knowledge that is required by the market players.
The aim of the initiative is to extend the existing or to establish new cooperation between higher education institutions and ICT companies, operating in their vicinity, to involve market professionals of these companies into practical training at universities. A key goal is to integrate the practical knowledge and experience of companies into the higher education training programs to provide students with practical, technological, and business knowledge and competencies in addition to the theoretical knowledge they gain during their studies. This project supports the establishment of the cooperation between the two parties and provide practical support to the concrete educational cooperation.
The contributing external experts are senior employees of leading market companies. Main areas of competence are agility, DevOps, AI, cloud native, data science, testing security, low-code platforms, embedded systems technologies, 5G.
How does it work in practice?
An intermediary company is selected to implement the trainers’ pool service through a procurement process.
Universities can define their need for a trainer at the beginning of the academic year (e.g., they have an AI course, but they do not have a trainer for it). The university can send a request for trainer to the intermediary company who is implementing this. The university might have a concrete ideal trainer in mind who they would like to invite or can turn to this intermediary company without any concrete person in mind. If the university has no suggestions, the intermediary searches among the previous trainers (the trainers’ pool) or in case there is no person meeting the defined search criteria, it is searching for an appropriate person within its IT company database. The involved trainer will become member of the pool right after his/her first training. The database (pool) belongs to the project.
To assure the quality of the trainer provision’s strict processes a control is implemented. The opportunity for involving external trainers from the market is published early enough for the universities, which must submit their needs before the start of the university semester. The trainers and the university must submit together a description about the planned course to a “board” (consisting of 3 people) who are checking if the course covers eligible areas (areas where currently knowledge shortage is experienced in the labour market). A topic description can be rejected if it is not providing market knowledge (e.g., Introduction in basics of computer sciences), if the topic is not required by the needs in the labour market. Two of the board members are IT specialists, and one is labour market expert. Each expert provides his/her own viewpoint, reasons and they decide in consensus. Trainings targeting the development of soft skills were also promoted, since companies remark often the lack and need for soft skills for young graduates.
Once a topic description is accepted, the trainer prepares for the course and provides the lecture. It might be a single lesson, or a whole course too.
Due to GDPR reasons the list of trainers (neither the list of companies where the external trainers work) is not publicly available, only information about the type of trainings implemented and the focus areas of the trainings are published.
Impact and benefits
The biggest advantage of the trainers’ pool activity for companies is that they can bring real market knowledge to universities, which they will later require in practice from the employees. In addition, it can significantly facilitate recruitment, as these courses provide a platform for them to meet students, filter out talented students who can later be employed by their company, either as an intern or full-time. The pool is important for universities too, as it is common feedback that universities have difficulties to provide practical knowledge.
So far, the pool approach was implemented 4 times, in the last 4 academic years, and the current project is still running.