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Channel has role to play plugging skills gap

Simon Quicke

The IT skills gap will only get wider unless more action is taken by both businesses and schools to get more young people to study ICT.

The warning has been sounded by the Recruitment and Education Confederation which has issued a report using words like "alarming" and "critical" to describe the skills gap.

it argues that employers have a crucial role to play in working with schools to make the IT world a more attractive one to students.

The channel has been actively doing its bit hiring apprentices with Westcoast, Microsoft and BT Engage all promoting their involvement with young people in the last few months.

But according to REC more can be done and it's report states: "While the demand for more advanced technology-based skills is not new, the recent economic crisis has increased the urgency of addressing the gap between available skills and what the market demands."

The report adds that some of the things channel bosses could do includes offering careers advice to students at school open days, demystifying what it is like to work in the industry and provide examples of life stories of those who work in the sector.

Some might have thought the current economic conditions might have eased the demand on skilled IT professionals but chair of REC Technology Jeff Brooks said demand had held up and future growth was at risk.

"Educators, employers, recruiters and the Government really need to get to grips with the whole issue to find practical, workable solutions for providing the relevant information which will help influence and inspire increasing numbers of young people to consider a career in IT," he said.


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