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With research showing that IT talent continues to be in hot demand in Northern Ireland, an innovative summer camp is this week working to help develop the sector’s future talent.

First launched in 2016, the Novosco Camp, in partnership with Ulster University, returns at the university’s Jordanstown campus, with 50 local students participating.

The five-day initiative, which is free to students aged 16-17 and enrolled at schools and colleges across Northern Ireland, provides first-hand, practical experience in the management and development of IT infrastructure and systems in a fun and engaging learning environment.

Professional IT engineers from Novosco, experts from the Connected Health Innovation Centre at Ulster University and lecturers from the University’s School of Computing are facilitating the camp, which also includes a tour of Novosco’s state-of-the-art Belfast headquarters at Catalyst Inc on Friday.

A mix of theory and hands-on experience, the camp covers networks, programming, building circuits, sensors, machine learning and more.

The day at Novosco’s offices will include first-hand experience of how a world-class IT company operates, sessions with Novosco’s engineers, and interactive talks on skills such as interview skills and CV writing.

In a bid to nurture future IT talent during the camp and beyond, each student is also provided with a Raspberry Pi, a small and affordable computer used to learn programming, which they can keep.

Novosco Managing Director Patrick McAliskey said:

“Novosco Camp is one of my favourite weeks of the year as we get to engage with young people who are passionate about IT and eager to learn, as well as to work closely with the fantastic team at Ulster University. I am also delighted that we have been able to increase the intake for Novosco Camp this year to 50 pupils.”

“It’s an understatement to say that Northern Ireland’s IT sector is fast growing and provides a vast number of opportunities for talented people. Novosco Camp helps us communicate that to potential future talent as well as to help them develop their experience and skills so that they can potentially go on to have a fantastic career in IT,” he adds.

Dr Nicola Ayre, Associate Head of the School of Computing at Ulster University commented:

“Ulster University nurtures world-class IT and computing talent every year, students we are proud to say are industry ready and sought-after by global companies, industry disruptors and local technology firms. Our partnership with the Novosco Camps explores the breadth of opportunity a degree in computing at Ulster University offers to potential students. It is an invaluable opportunity to develop skills, raise ambitions and prepare future IT leaders by presenting the opportunity for participants to engage with our state-of-the-art robot, experiment with some of the very latest technology in our research labs and fully immerse themselves in the world of IT beyond a classroom setting.”

Novosco is an IT infrastructure and managed services provider with clients in the public, private and voluntary sectors across the UK and Ireland.

Last year, the company secured a seven-year, £107million contract with Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and announced the creation of 150 new jobs.

Headquartered in Belfast, Novosco also has offices in Daresbury near Manchester and Dublin.