The government has announced new qualifications called Degree Apprenticeships to help young people gain a full honours degree while working and set new standards for digital skills training.
The qualifications are backed by the government and industry, and will launch in September 2015. Applicants can apply to companies offering the scheme in the new year.
Universities and companies will then work together to select the applicants they believe to be most likely to thrive in the degrees and future careers.
Companies offering the Digital Apprenticeships include Accenture, BT, Capgemini, CGI, Ford, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, IBM, John Lewis and Network Rail.
The first Degree Apprenticeships will focus on the digital sector, aiming to provide the necessary skills for a career in the technology industry.
Participants will earn a wage throughout the course, and will not be required to pay any student fees.
The government will pay two thirds of the training and course fees, and the participating companies will pick up the remaining third.
The government has allocated £20m in funding, indicating what it claims is a commitment to solving the UK's digital skills gap by exploring different approaches to education and training.
The goal is to ensure that the UK has the digital skills to fill the one million job vacancies expected in the technology industry over the next 10 years.
"These new digital qualifications are the latest example of government working in partnership with academia and industry to ensure that education and training routes are providing the skills which employers need now and in the future," said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey.
Vaizey also revealed that a series of short courses designed in partnership with the technology industry will train workforces and individuals in digital skills.
These courses will form part of a new industry-accredited standard, and will be delivered in the form of intensive training designed to keep pace with the needs of employers and evolving technologies.
Pilots of the short courses will begin with web development, which has been identified as a core need for businesses as only 61 percent of SMBs have a website.
Successful participants will gain a certificate confirming that they have the skills to create an online presence for a small company.
Like the Digital Apprenticeships, backing for the short courses will come from major technology companies, including ARM, BT, Cisco, Fujitsu, Google, IBM and Oracle.
The introduction of the Digital Apprenticeships indicates a move to get more direct involvement from the technology industry in education and training, which Ed Vaizey said is vital in closing the digital skills gap.
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