Implementing a well thought out IT training programme is essential for corporate IT training and IT directors, who have long complained that there is an IT skills crisis in the UK, bemoaning the lack of candidates in the UK marketplace with the right mix of skills.
An influential think tank, the Institute for the Management of Information Systems, said in April last year that without heavy investment in IT training, the UK will be facing critical shortages of project and programme managers within six years. This shortage could threaten the future of big government and private sector IT projects.
The BCS is also predicting a 25% fall in computer science graduates by 2009, which will further acerbate the skills problems and affect the UK's ability to compete in a global marketplace. The IT industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK economy and is increasingly responsible for generating a growing proportion of the UK's gross domestic product.
At the end of 2006, a cademics revealed that fewer than 13,000 new computer science graduates joined the IT labour market each year. According to the Council for Professors and Heads of Computing, in 2005, some 12,804 people out of 31,450 who had started a computer science course found IT roles with UK-based employers.
As well as galvanising industry to help universities and schools attract more computer science graduates, the British Computer Society (BCS) is trying to make the IT industry a more professional sector. It believes the sector is about a third of the way to becoming fully professional. The BCS is collaborating with suppliers group Intellect, the National Computing Centre, and e-skills UK to put the building blocks in place to professionalise IT and cement IT training programs.
This work aims to establish a commitment from IT professionals to develop their skills through training in IT and seeks to aims to make IT professionals more accountable for their decision-making.
Free online IT training is available through several providers, such as the e-learning center, Microsoft IT training, the National IT Learning Centre and The Open University. For more advice on IT training, see our hotskills series that has lots of advice and details across a wide range of IT training programs.
IT training news stories
Shortage of graduates threatens future of UK IT sector >>
IT training blogs
David Taylor's IT leadership blog >>
How to become a better leader and manager
This was first published in June 2007