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SAS recognises UK universities' commitment to skills

16 universities acknowledged for ongoing investment in big data skills

03 December 2013 - Sixteen UK universities have been recognised for their commitment to the SAS Student Academy programme. The programme, pioneered by SAS, the leader in business analytics, gives educational institutions the ability to train students in big data skills, playing a key role in tackling the skills gap. The universities were awarded commemorative plaques at the SAS Careers Fair in Brunel University on Friday.

Since its inception in November 2012, the programme now has 16 academies in universities which were formally recognised at the event. These include: Birmingham City University, Brunel University London, University of Southampton, Sheffield Hallam University, De Montford University Leicester, University of the West of Scotland, Regent's University London, Southampton Solent University, University of Derby, Oxford Brookes University, Bournemouth University, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, University College Cork Ireland, Leeds Metropolitan University and Cork Institute of Technology.

The SAS Careers Fair put 300 students from 15 universities in direct contact with companies requiring graduates with the necessary skills to analyse big data including HMRC, British Airways, Nationwide, PwC and Accenture. Between them, these businesses currently have more than 100 graduate vacancies for data analysts.

Students with big data skills can command a starting salary of up to 25 per cent more than the average starting salary in the UK, making the field an attractive option for graduates. But recent research from SAS and e-skills UK, the employer body for the digital industries, found that three out of five large UK organisations find it challenging to hire people with the specialist big data skills they need. Demand for big data specialists is expected to rise by 243 per cent over the next five years - to around 69,000 people - guaranteeing employment and an enviable starting salary for graduates.

Mark Wilkinson, managing director, SAS UK & Ireland commented: "The SAS Student Academies programme has generated huge levels of interest and commitment from the very top universities in the UK. Investing now in the skills required to drive the information economy forward is absolutely vital to this country's economic competitiveness on the global stage. This is a key part of SAS' ongoing commitment to helping bridge the gap between the businesses calling out for these skills and the universities with graduates to meet this demand."

Dr Kathleen Maitland, Director of the first SAS Student Academy unveiled at Birmingham City University last year, said: "It was great to see plaques presented to all the universities who have invested time and resources in becoming SAS Student Academies and who, in their own right, are becoming a community of researchers, practitioners and expert educationalists in data analytics.

"University lecturers from many SAS Student Academies were able to discuss the skills and knowledge that employers want students to acquire, and relationships were built which will enable employability skills and knowledge to be embedded in taught academic modules."

SAS is committed to developing the skills that will develop big data analytics as an enabler of the UK Government's information economy vision, and for the past 10 years has invested more than £60-million in providing 70 universities across the country with access to its solutions. Supporting the academic programme, SAS has also developed SAS Curriculum Pathways as an online resource for secondary school teachers and pupils, with more than 300 schools registered.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 65,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world The Power to Know® .

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