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Bridging the Skills Gap with Arm Semiconductor Education Alliance

New alliance attracts a wide range of partners from academia, government bodies and industry to address semiconductor skills challenges.
By Khaled Benkrid, Senior Director, Education and Research, Arm

Across the globe, there is a shared consensus that the semiconductor industry is grappling with a talent crunch. As a leader of Arm’s Education and Engagement Team, as well as a former academic faculty member, I’ve witnessed this skills gap from both academia and industry perspectives.

The current education framework is largely based on a relatively stable job skills map, assuming a large annual student intake over a typical five-year period. This relative stability justifies and funds a substantial initial, but subsequently infrequent, investment in curriculum development and training. However, these assumptions no longer hold true.

Take software and system engineering, for instance. We anticipate a significant shift in the required skills over the next five years, primarily due to the emergence of technologies like AI. This necessitates a deeper understanding of the skills needed in the semiconductor industry, which can then be quickly integrated into school and HEI curriculums. We also need increased flexibility in education systems and industry training programs worldwide to adapt learning programs and incorporate feedback and insights from industry KSA requirements.

Arm’s Semiconductor Education Alliance

Addressing the skills gap is a primary motivation behind the formation of the Semiconductor Education Alliance by Arm, in collaboration with our partners across academia, government bodies, and the tech sector. Leveraging Arm’s influential position in the semiconductor industry and our extensive ecosystem that intersects with every technology worldwide, we aim to unite partners from diverse sectors and backgrounds under this new alliance.

Check this link to find out how we are addressing the growing challenges of both finding talent and upskilling the existing workforce.

How is Arm Collaborating with TSRI and AICTE to Address the Global Skills Shortage?

Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (Taiwan)

As I mentioned at the start, the skills shortage is a global challenge. Since 2020, the Taiwan Semiconductor Research Institute (TSRI) has been redistributing Arm Academic Access IP to local universities and providing support. This has resulted in a reusable machine learning (ML) platform for academia, which will tape out this year. 

As an alliance member, TSRI plans to work with Arm and the Arm-based community of practice, known as SoC Labs, to facilitate global academic access to state-of-the art technologies and cloud-based design training services. We are working together with professors in Taiwan and the UK to develop a hands-on training course based on TSRI’s reusable ML platform and TSMC University FinFET Program. This will enable advanced integrated circuit (IC) design research in both the UK and Taiwan.

The All-India Council for Technical Education (India)

The All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) approves more than 9,000 institutions across the country, the majority of which teach courses of direct relevance to the scope of the alliance. AICTE is working with Arm and STMicroelectronics on a ‘Inventors Challenge 2023’, following large-scale and highly successful previous iterations. The Inventors Challenge provides faculty, postgraduate and undergraduate students industry-specific content and opportunities to practice with commercial tools, all themed around Sustainability and G20 Goals.

What Industry Associations are participating in the Semiconductor Education Alliance?

Semiconductor Research Corporation (US)

In the US, Arm has been working closely within the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) to develop the necessary semiconductor workforce, especially in the context of the recent US CHIPS Act. As part of the SRC’s workforce development Chapter, we have been working with colleagues from across the global semiconductor industry to understand the talent needs of the US industry in the future through developing models and frameworks that set out to plug the large projected skills gap.  

The Electronics Skills Foundation (UK)

In the UK, as an industry founding partner, Arm has been an active contributor to the UK Electronics Skills Foundation (UKESF). More recently, UKESF is supporting Arm’s development of an open, online course on microprocessors. Presented by young engineers at Arm, the course will support students who are looking to embark on a career in the semiconductor industry.

Which technology companies are involved in the Semiconductor Education Alliance?


Arduino is a key Arm partner in embedded and IoT markets. However, our partnership extends beyond the adoption of Arm’s technology and includes education programs and initiatives in schools and universities. We are working together to support teachers to embed computer engineering skills into classroom teaching through education resources. An area of collaboration between Arduino and Arm within the alliance is to scale up this support through the development of communities of practice. This will enable teachers to benefit from expert guidance, peer-to-peer support and the sharing of best practice for using physical computing devices within the computer science curriculum.


Arm is collaborating with Cadence, a major EDA partner, to build out new very-large-scale integration (VLSI) design educational resources using state-of-the-art commercial tools and IP. This work has already resulted in a version of our VLSI Fundamentals Education Kit using current Cadence tools.


Focusing specifically on embedded devices, we are working with STMicroelectronics who sponsor and support online courses around embedded systems, ML at the edge and IoT education and training. Through a global platform, we have already reached tens of thousands of learners in over 150 countries. The joint product roadmap of online content continues to develop and evolve in response to the KSA needs of the industry.


Another major EDA design partner in the alliance is Synopsys. The company is working on integrating its state-of-the-art EDA tools and VLSI design educational resources for both teachers and researchers. This will lower the barrier to entry for many project teams.

Top academic and educational institutions in the Semiconductor Education Alliance

Anglia Ruskin University (UK)

Arm Education has been supporting education and research activities at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Cambridge, England, for many years. More recently, ARU and Arm have been collaborating on the design and development of validated online learning pathways to widen access to career opportunities in the semiconductor industry. Alongside strengthening the research partnership with Arm, ARU will use the alliance to develop online courses to tackle the skills gaps and increase diversity in important areas of technology, including AI.

Cornell University (US)

Through the alliance, the systems engineering department at Cornell University is currently creating a range of credit-bearing distance learning courses in cyber-physical systems, including embedded systems, IoT and robotics. As part of the Arm and alliance joint commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, the teaching materials for these courses will be made freely available to anyone worldwide via the Edu Labs platform.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur (India)

As one of India’s Institutes of National Importance, IIT Jodhpur is committed to a multidisciplinary approach to technology development. The institute is a long-time user of curriculum-aligned Arm resources and has recently become a member of the alliance and Arm Academic Access, allowing the university to develop SoCs based on commercially proven IP.

University of Southampton (UK)

Arm has a longstanding relationship with the University of Southampton’s Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) Centre, with this partnership flourishing under the alliance. ECS hosts and curates the key Arm community of practice platforms for teachers and researchers, which are Edu Labs and SoC Labs, respectively. These initiatives allow universities to openly share resources and entire projects, which help to reduce development timescales and increase research impact.

Driving global skills and talent

Across all sectors and industries, the alliance includes education programs and initiatives that will support the drive to plug the global semiconductor skills gap. It is amazing to see the worlds of government, academia and technology come together to invest in greater access to education resources and expertise that will help unlock further investment and grow the semiconductor industry worldwide.

While challenges exist, the global innovation opportunities are enormous. I’m delighted that Arm is playing a central role in creating these opportunities and addressing key education challenges that will help build the next generation of semiconductor talent.

Learn more about education at Arm

Interested in joining the Semiconductor Education Alliance or learning more about Arm’s education resources?

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