Apple opens centre to train app coders
Apple is opening a training centre in Naples that aims to teach a "new generation" of computer coders how to develop new software for its app store.
The initiative is part of an industry-wide push to encourage people to learn coding, amid concerns of a skills shortage.
It comes as Apple faces strong competition from rival app platform Google Play.
Apple hopes to expand its training programme to countries worldwide.
Chief executive Tim Cook said: "Europe is home to some of the most creative developers in the world, and we're thrilled to be helping the next generation of entrepreneurs in Italy get the skills they need for success."
Apple says its app store has created more than 1.4 million jobs in Europe.
The UK leads the way with 242,000 jobs in iOS development, followed by Germany with 209,000, France with 163,000, and Italy with 75,000.
But Google Play had twice the number of downloads in 2015, according to app analytics company App Annie.
Although, Apple makes more revenue from apps - partly because Google's popularity is very strong in the developing world, where users spend less money on downloads.
App Annie's European director Jaede Tan said: "Apple opening such a centre can only be a positive for the European app economy.
"Forty-thousand apps are released each month, and there are an increasing number of people getting involved in development."
The European Commission predicts the lack of coding skills in Europe could lead to a shortage of up to 900,000 ICT professionals by 2020.