Apple will open in Naples a centre to teach a "new generation" of computer coders how to develop new software for its app store, the tech giant announced. The app training centre will be the first in Europe, where the European Union's executive predicts a lack of coding skills could lead to a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020.
Italian premier Matteo Renzi welcomed the news, saying it would create jobs for some 600 people in the impoverished southern city. Vincenzo De Luca, the governor of the under-developed Campania region surrounding Naples, also hailed Apple's planned training centre.
"It's a great opportunity for the city, a significant investment in a type of advanced industry that can bring 600 jobs to Naples," De Luca said.
"Europe is home to some of the most creative developers in the world and we are thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success," Cook said in a statement on Thursday.
The Naples centre will "give students practical skills and training on developing iOS apps," the statement said. Apple will work with partners around Italy and expects to expand the programme to other countries around the world, it added.
Apple said its app store has created more than 1.4 million jobs in Europe. "In Italy, over 75,000 jobs are attributable to the App Store and the developer community is vibrant," it stated. Apple in December agreed to pay Italy 318 million euros in backtaxes for the period 2008-2013.
The case was one of several Italy has brought against global technology companies that have headquarters in low-tax nations like Ireland. Italian tax authorities have also examined Facebook's Milan offices and are working with Google to determine what might be due.