SAP and Microsoft join fight for digital future with Nottingham University

NextGen Lab

SAP has announced the launch of a NextGen Lab within the University of Nottingham’s Digital Centre of Excellence (CoE) that will provide a physical space for teaching SAP and digital content.

The new CoE comes as Nottingham University Business school is working with both SAP and Microsoft to provide students with the qualifications they need for an increasingly digital world where skills are in short supply.

The current tech talent shortage is expected to hit 90 percent of all organizations by 2025; already, 75 percent of organizations have reported to SAP that they are struggling to hire the right skill sets. Adding to this is the significant digital skills gaps within the workforce, with 76 percent of IT decision-makers experiencing critical gaps within their teams.

Hard skills from Microsoft

The lab will look to place students in the SAP partner pipeline with plans for 40 graduates in the ecosystem in 2023, growing its numbers to 750 placements in the next year. The school is also offering internationally recognized SAP and Microsoft professional certifications either free or at significant discount to University of Nottingham students, which they can study alongside their degree.

“The UK is facing an unprecedented digital skills gap. Microsoft’s Degree+Digital report, commissioned in partnership with LinkedIn Learning, shows that nearly 80 per cent of employers believe graduates do not arrive fully equipped with the skills they need to be work ready, while just 28 per cent of  UK business leaders believe the education system offers adequate digital training,” Clare Riley, education Skills lead, Microsoft UK, tells ERP Today.

“We’re delighted to be working with Nottingham University Business School to help close this gap and offer Microsoft certifications to students across some of the most in-demand technical skills – such as Cloud, data, and AI – to help them prepare for their professional career. These globally recognized certifications help boost students’ job prospects and ensure they reach their full potential, leading to improved job satisfaction.”

SAP: The Next Generation

The SAP Next-Gen Lab will be the first partner presence in the Digital Centre of Excellence. In September 2021, the university rolled out the SAP ERP Sim and SAP BusinessByDesign modules to 1000 students. The NextGen lab is building on this experience to continuously grow and improve the competencies for students to receive the necessary tools for owning their futures, adding components such as SAP Analytics Cloud and more.

SAP and Nottingham University’s shared mission in fighting the skills gap is to digitally future-proof the students and create programs that will continue to help them beyond the end of their time in education as young professionals in enterprise tech, the kind that ERP Today supports with its own YPN network.

The NextGen Lab has outlined a set of new objectives for their program, including the integration of SAP technology into existing courses, support for the assessment of the integrated materials, support for students engaged in SAP certifications, providing physical teaching space for digital modules and supporting partners, customers and the local economy with the critical skills they need to face the future together.

“We are increasingly seeing the expectation from employers that graduates should be able to arrive on their first day with the digital capabilities necessary to work in a modern, often hybrid or remote working environment,” said Dr. Andrew Callaghan of Nottingham University Business School. “To really get ahead, graduates will also need at least a working knowledge of technologies such as data, AI and Cloud.

“We pair functional business skills from our degree programs with digital skills that are in high demand to make sure our students stand out in the job market.”

Martin Gollogly, director of University Alliances at SAP EMEA North, added: “This facility will allow students to gain a deep, high-quality understanding of SAP and how it is used to help the world’s most successful organizations run better. Customers and partners will gain access to a pool of talented, motivated, and skilled SAP-ready students that will be able to hit the ground running.”

The launch day saw attendance from various partner organizations, including Birchman, Boots, Tarmac, Innospec and more. SAP also successfully launched a new MSc in Accounting Information systems in February 2023, which is based on SAP S/4HANA.

Microsoft qualifications available at the centre include certifications for Azure, Azure AI and Microsoft 365.