Highlighting datacenter academy partnerships in Gävle and Sandviken
Microsoft strives to create inclusive economic opportunity in communities where we operate our datacenters. Through Workforce Development partnerships with local education organizations, the Datacenter Academy (DCA) program helps develop a strong, technically skilled, and diverse local workforce through curriculum support, server donations, mentorship, and employee volunteerism.
Datacenter Academy locations include Dublin, Ireland; Amsterdam, Hoorn, and Schagen, Netherlands; Cape Town, South Africa; Gävle and Sandviken, Sweden; and in the United States: Phoenix, Arizona; Des Moines, Iowa; San Antonio, Texas; Ashburn, South Boston, and South Hill, Virginia; Moses Lake, Washington; and Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Microsoft Datacenter Academy (DCA) partnerships in the Gävle and Sandviken communities in Sweden are helping to develop a skilled local workforce. With the support and hands-on training of the Datacenter Academy and partner institutions, secondary-school students and adults of all ages can become skilled information and communication technology (ICT) professionals qualified for roles across the ICT and datacenter sectors.
In Sandviken, students educated through the Sandviken CVL IT Technician course learn to manage, maintain, and support networking and server technology and gain real-time experience in the Sandviken DCA Datacenter Lab to enhance their coursework. Students also have the opportunity to enrich their curriculum and qualifications by earning CompTIA industry certification. A new course through Sandviken DCA established in 2022 offers students with previous ICT experience the chance to earn certifications in Systems Administration, bringing the total number of students who have attended or used the datacenter lab to more than 100 since 2020.
The Gävle Polhemsskolan students enrolled in the Data and ICT Specialist program study computer and communication technologies with a focus on computer hardware, programming, networks, IT support and repairs, and datacenter administration and technician roles. Hands-on training amplifies opportunities for students to gain expertise and work toward CompTIA industry certifications. Kevin, a Gävle Polhemsskolan student, reflects: “I’ve had the opportunity to learn about datacenter and ICT support directly by helping build, support, and manage the DC Lab at Polhemsskolan. This experience has allowed me to see exactly where I want to go in my technology career, which is into a hyperscale datacenter.”
After completing these programs, students are well prepared for jobs in the field. Maria Strömbrink, Deputy Principal of Adult Education, Sandviken CVL comments, “Partnering with local employers like Microsoft, we are able to ensure that our students develop the skills they need for jobs in the technology sector.” Students in both programs are positioned to move into ICT Technician and ICT Support roles with local employers in Gävle, Sandviken, and across the Gävleborg region, including government, local industries, and ICT companies. Roles available to graduates of these programs include ICT Support Technician, DC Technician, Network Technician, and infrastructure support roles at all scales, from small ICT setups to hyperscale DCs.
The skills programs in Sandviken and Gävle are the result of a broad multi-stakeholder collaboration among the two municipalities, local education institutions Sandviken CVL (adult education) and Gävle Polhemsskolan (upper secondary education), and the Sandviken Datacenter Academy based at Sandbacka Science Park. This public-private partnership benefits all involved, helping schools to develop a curriculum relevant to today’s economy and employers to find qualified workers. Tommy Hellström, principal at Polhemsskolan, observes, “As a school, Polhemsskolan values the good cooperation with Microsoft, both for our students and our education, and for the positive dialogue it gives us with a leading employer within the IT sector.” Mattias Ersson, campus director for the Microsoft datacenters in Sweden, explains how the partnership works to promote a skilled workforce: “We want to invest in local skills. In order to do this, we partner with local trainers, which in this case is the municipality and Sandviken’s CVL. Later on, we will work with mentoring and guest lectures, and in the end, we want to be able to offer employment to those who have attended the courses.” By creating opportunities for hands-on technical training, Datacenter Academy partnerships are helping develop the region as a hub for ICT and datacenter professionals.