This article previously appeared on News@Northeastern. It was written by Peter Ramjug.

Northeastern University has launched new undergraduate degree programs in the United Kingdom to help working professionals quickly upskill in emerging tech fields. The new degrees and certificates are offered by Northeastern's London campus, NCH at Northeastern, and are designed to help U.K. employers fill an immediate demand for skilled digital talent—inside their own companies.

Northeastern partnered with ServiceNow, the Santa Clara, California-based digital workflow technology provider, to launch the initiative, which will be expanded globally in the coming months. Designed by Northeastern faculty and ServiceNow, the programs are being rolled out to ServiceNow's customers and partner companies.

Professionals enrolled in the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Program may earn certifications, including Certified System Administrator and Certified Implementation Specialist in IT Service Management, either as part of a three-year program or as standalone credentials.

A related program, the Data Science Degree, prepares enrolled learners for careers as a data scientist, informatics specialist, or data engineer.

“By embedding ServiceNow technologies with rigorous academic content, we are enabling U.K. employers to close their digital skills gap, and provide in-demand skills with a direct link to employability and career growth,” said Deanna Raineri, vice president and senior vice chancellor for Experiential Digital Global Education.

“What's really powerful about these new programs is that students no longer have to choose between pursuing a degree or going to work. With these programs they can do both.”

The programs began in early October and will continue accepting participants on a quarterly basis. “Many U.K. businesses have moved slowly to implement programs to prepare for future disruptions, often because of a lack of time for employees to participate in training as well as outdated academic courses that fall short of the latest tech trends,” said Raineri.

The new degrees and certificates offered by NCH at Northeastern are designed to overcome those challenges by helping enterprises recruit, develop, and retain an agile workforce that can pivot as business demands require.

They do so by preparing people for roles as information technology consultants and data and business analysts, which are especially relevant fields as many businesses have moved online because of the pandemic.

Learners enrolled in these new programs are employed full-time and pay no tuition because of the U.K. government's apprenticeship levy on businesses to help companies train staff in an innovative skillset.

In addition to helping employers address the shortage of talent with highly sought-after digital skills, these programs will help boost diversity in the workforce by broadening the pool of qualified job candidates to include groups underrepresented in technology, as well as those who may not have gone to university because of the cost.

The new NCH at Northeastern degree programs are designed for new hires as well as existing employees who either want to move into a career in information technology or who want to use parts of the degree to upskill or reskill in a particular area. The programs are specifically designed to support ServiceNow's more than 6,000 global business customers and its growing network of corporate partners.

For Northeastern, “this is a new form of cooperative education for the university,” said Christina Jaracz, assistant vice president of corporate partnerships and D'Amore-McKim School of Business assistant dean of corporate and professional learning.

The programs directly address a concern among U.K. residents that government, businesses, and academic institutions need to do more to help them meet the demands of the workplace in the technology age.

“We are continually hearing from customers and partners that the workforce of today has been educated for the jobs of yesterday,” Faez Ahmed, senior director of training and certification at ServiceNow, said in the company's announcement of the partnership with Northeastern.

“These degrees from Northeastern will give students necessary skills through real world assignments so they can put their learning into practice straight away.”

Read more at News@Northeastern.