Twenty one students from The University of Nottingham Ningbo Campus (UNNC), UK who have just completed a unique training course in the design of integrated circuits, have all been offered jobs by Sondrel in China.

Sondrel, a British based IC design services consultancy for the semiconductor industry, identified that there was a shortage of skilled IC designers in China, and approached UNNC for support in developing a bespoke course, aimed at plugging the skills gap.

A three-month training programme was devised, in conjunction with Sondrel and UNNC, to help address the severe shortage of qualified IC designers in the region. The programme was delivered by UNNC engineering staff and Sondrel engineers at the newly created Nottingham-Sondrel School of VLSI Design in Ningbo. Third year UNNC students and recent graduates with relevant qualifications and professional experience were eligible to apply for the programme.

In addition, software worth $10 million was donated by Sondrel's partner company, Mentor Graphics, a leader in electronic design automation software, to support the training.

Speaking about the course, Professor Chris Rudd, Pro-Vice Chancellor for External Engagement at The University of Nottingham, said: “This first IC training programme has proven to be very successful, and we are very much looking forward to partnering with Sondrel to run other such programmes in the future, providing many more talented students with the skills required by the rapidly growing Chinese Integrated Circuit industry. I also want to thank the China Britain Business Council for their help and support in developing the partnership between the University and Sondrel.”

Graham Curren, CEO of Sondrel, added: “We are delighted to see the first intake of students successfully complete the programme. The course is proving to be very popular and includes modules on Digital System Design, Verilog HDL & FPGA design, ARM 7 architectures, IP Integration and Validation, SystemVerilog for Validation and SystemVerilog for Assertion. A physical design course also runs alongside these modules.”