By Daniel Hunter

The plight of unemployed graduates in the UK, particularly London its capital, has been highlighted in the press and on the national news.

Bizarrely, the UK’s major high tech industry — data centres — have been having major difficulties finding suitable recruits to work in these ‘factories of the future’ — they are often the size of five or six football pitches and packed with tens of thousands of computer servers.

This week sees the start of Data Centre Bootcamp which aims to help out of work graduates and forces-leavers to find work in this exciting industry.

As well as tens of thousands of computer servers, Data Centres also contain massive electrical and mechanical installations, with generators as big as a ship’s engine and an amazing array of industrial-scale pipework.

A medium size data centre can use as much electricity as a small city - yet they are 100 per cent more efficient than company server rooms.

A very wide range of skills from Electrical and Mechanical Engineering to IT and sales are needed.

Probably the fastest growing area of the UK economy — and behind almost everything we do in today’s digital world, data centres are almost the only ‘factories’ remaining in the UK economy.

And they’re absolutely critical because everything from airline booking systems and air traffic control, to traffic-light phasing, Facebook status updates, tweets, e-mail, supermarket tills and stock control, Amazon, e-commerce. In fact just about every business you can think of now relies upon data centres for its operation.

“Amazingly,” says Simon Campbell-Whyte, executive director of international industry body the Data Centre Alliance, “the average age of people in the data centre industry is fifty-something and there’s a major skills shortage coming in this vital industry.

“We’ve worked with our many Data Centre Operator members to come up with ‘Data Centre Bootcamp’ which started today with TV news coverage by ITN. We hope this Bootcamp will give many unemployed graduates, and some of the highly able people now being forced out of our armed forces, the extra skills they need to become credible interview candidates for data centre employers.”

Today’s first pilot of Data Centre Bootcamp was devised by the Data Centre Alliance and is being run at the University of East London’s Dockland’s campus.

“The Data Centre Bootcamp is free to the attendees thanks to the sponsorship of training company C-Net and of two of London’s biggest data centre employers: Telecity and Telehouse," said Campbell-Whyte.

“Both Telecity and Telehouse run massive data centre complexes in Docklands and are hoping that at the end of the Bootcamp they will have some of their best interview candidates in years.”

For the members of the Data Centre Alliance (which represents individual data centre professionals and equipment manufacturers as well as the data centre operators) — their expectation is that the pilot 10-day intensive will turn most of the 21 attendees into highly employable recruits.

If successful as expected, Data Centre Bootcamp will be run on a much larger scale in London, throughout the UK, Europe and the Far East.

The 21 ‘Bootcamp-ees’ on today’s pilot are mostly out-of-work Londoners including graduates of UEL, Queen Mary and Middlesex Universities. Additionally, three are forces leavers, plus a PhD student from Leeds who sees the Data Centre Bootcamp as her best chance of getting into this exciting and challenging industry.

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