Successful tech programme from IBM gets UK pilot

The Pathways in Technology programme provides tech education, work experience, and paid internship opportunities for young people

An IBM technology course launched eight years ago in the US is finally to get its UK pilot.

IBM’s Pathways in Technology (P-Tech) programme offers education, work experience, and paid internship opportunities to school and college students.


You might also like: UCL scheme to help teachers overcome edtech ‘fear’


The programme will initially launch at two schools and one college in Leeds, following the success of the model in the USA, established in 2011. The first cohort are set to begin studies in September 2019.

Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “We want Leeds to be the best city for children and young people to grow up in, and are very proud to be the first city in the UK to be involved in P-Tech, which we believe has the potential to offer better futures for young people.”

IBM-P-Tech-US-school-district-rollout
Schools in the US have already seen the successful roll-out of P-Tech
Image via ptech.org

The model combines traditional secondary school teaching with tertiary-level education, work experience placements, and paid internship opportunities provided by industry partners.

Students will have the chance to graduate from the programme with a level four qualification, such as BTEC or HNC, that will enable them to apply for entry-level jobs, or enter higher education.

Industry partners play a main role in the programme, providing students with access to one-to-one mentoring, worksite visits, and project days.

The partners will also work closely with participating schools by employing a P-Tech fellow who will serve as a school-business liaison officer, and adapt curriculum content to suit students’ needs. Students will then be first in line for jobs with their industry partner.

We are very proud to be the first city in the UK to be involved in P-Tech, which we believe has the potential to offer better futures for young people.
– Judith Blake, Leeds City Council

P-Tech runs on an open enrolment concept, with no exam or entrance requirements. It also specifically focuses on students from disadvantaged communities, to address social inclusion and the lack of diversity in the tech world.

IBM aims to have at least 200 P-Tech schools across 13 countries by the end of 2019. To date, 185 students have graduated from P-Tech schools, and early results show an on-time graduation rate five times the average for low-income students.*

Cockburn School, Cockburn John Charles Academy, and Leeds City College will be the first institutions to run P-Tech in the UK, with support from Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University, and a range of employers including IBM.

More information on the programme can be found at ptech.org

*in the US