Creating new opportunities for the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs in Naples
19 June 2023

As a suburb east of Naples, San Giovanni a Teduccio had for decades been dependent upon industrial facilities, especially a large food packing factory that provided work to hundreds of families in the neighbourhood. However, all of that began to change in the latter half of the 20th century as industries shuttered across the region. After the food packing factory closed down in the 1980s, the area struggled with high unemployment and increasing crime rates.

Following decades of neglect, in 2015, the University of Naples Federico II opened a new campus for the faculty of Engineering in San Giovanni a Teduccio in an effort to revitalise the area. Just as the new campus was being completed, Apple was initiating a search for the ideal location to open its first Apple Developer Academy in Europe, aimed at helping higher education institutions integrate iOS development into their curricula. Choosing San Giovanni a Teduccio, the central and regional Italian governments suggested, would benefit not only the residents of the neighbourhood but all of southern Italy — a region often overlooked by foreign investors.

For Apple, the decision was a no-brainer: in partnership with the University of Naples Federico II and with support from the European Cohesion Policy, the Apple Naples Developer Academy opened in 2016.

The highly selective, free nine-month programme requires no prior coding experience and attracts students from a wide range of backgrounds, both local and international. Like at its other academies, a team of Apple experts designed the custom curriculum and Academy experience at the University of Naples Federico II to help participants develop skills for the rapidly growing app economy. To learn how to write code and launch apps, each student is provided with an iPhone and MacBook. Academy participants learn the fundamentals of coding as well as core professional competencies, design and marketing, ensuring graduates have the full suite of skills needed to contribute to their local business communities.

Since the opening of the Naples Developer Academy in 2016, nearly 2,000 students have gone through the programme. They have graduated with the tools and training to find and create jobs in the iOS app economy, which supports more than 2.4 million jobs across Europe. Another 3,000 students have participated in introductory 30-day foundations courses offered in partnership with several universities and nonprofits across Italy. Foundations courses are designed for students who are interested in learning more about coding, providing basic instruction and a stepping-stone for further opportunities in the industry or at the academy. According to Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives:

‘At Apple, we believe education is a powerful tool to uplift communities and provide new pathways for innovation and economic development. We are thrilled to see the many ways Apple’s ongoing investment in Naples fosters new opportunities for young people across Europe, helping them to develop critical skills and build careers in the thriving iOS app ecosystem.’

Like their peers at other Academies, the programme has empowered students in Naples through app development and entrepreneurial training. Many of these graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, create and sell apps on the App Store and give back to their communities.

The Apple Developer Academy has also benefited the local Naples community. Through the second-year Pier programme, 60 Academy graduates from the University of Naples Federico II have applied their knowledge by developing innovative solutions for local and regional NGOs. These experiences not only bring real benefits to the region but also provide students with valuable real-world work experience.

Looking to the future, Apple will extend the academy programming through 2025 and launch a new alumni programme aimed at providing students from Naples and other Academies with additional resources to build and develop their business ventures. All academy graduates will have access to a Mac and iPhone for an additional two years, along with scheduled learning programmes, networking and featured guest speakers. Students can remain in Naples or access the alumni programme from anywhere in Europe, expanding the academy’s reach across the continent.

With these resources, Apple is doubling down on its investment in the next generation of app developers in Europe. In turn, Academy alumni are developing the businesses with the potential to support and revitalise economies in San Giovanni a Teduccio and beyond.

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Skills training, diversity, inclusion and equity (DEI)
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Key numbers
jobs across Europe supported by the iOS app economy