Sky Betting & Gaming has welcomed 27 technology graduates into its first intake for an internal trainee programme.

The new Software Academy at Wellington Place in Leeds aims to bring in talented grads and develop them for full-time employment.

The scheme, 14 weeks of fast-track training followed by placements within all the technology teams in Leeds and Sheffield, costs the firm an average of £60k per place.

Just under 70% of the graduates came from universities in Yorkshire, including Hull University, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds University, Sheffield University, Sheffield Hallam University and Bradford University.

We’re committed to Yorkshire and have been able to recruit at record rates here over the last 12 months,” said Matt Hughan, head of recruitment.

“By offering such high quality placements, we’ve not only been able to hold on to home grown graduates from our local universities, but also to attract those from further afield.”

Only four of the 27 studied at universities in the South.

The graduates will study software engineering, DevOps, AGILE, Lean, business skills, databases, scalability and software testing, plus learn to code in Ruby and JavaScript.

West Yorkshire ‘unicorn’ Sky Betting & Gaming was valued at £800m when a majority stake was sold to CVC Capital Partners in 2014.

CTO Andy Burton told a recent BusinessCloud roundtable that he considered moving the firm to Manchester – but is glad he didn’t after hiring 150 people in the tech team in 20 weeks.

Sky PLC retains a 20 per cent stake in Sky Betting and Gaming, which now employs more than 700 people.