Outsourcing supplier Capita is planning a major training programme to equip its IT workforce with business, management and communications skills.
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The company plans to train about 20% of its IT staff in commercial skills in response to growing demand from its public and private sector customers for IT consultants who are more business focused.
The news comes as Capita, which runs projects such the London congestion charge scheme, plans to increase the number of permanent IT staff it employs by 30% in 2006.
"There is now much more pressure on our IT managers to have improved commercial and financial skills," said Capita Resources managing director Dawn Marriott.
"When we go through the recruitment process we are finding there are gaps. We will be investing a lot more money in training our IT people to have a much more commercial focus next year."
The company is drawing up plans for a rolling training programme for IT staff that will draw on the resources of Capita's own training department, external training companies and colleges.
"They need to have a greater awareness of of the impact IT has on business. We are also having to make sure we are equipping our IT people with communications skills so they can interact with their business colleagues," said Marriott.
Private sector companies outsourcing their IT systems are commercially driven, and they are increasingly expecting their outsourcing partners to be commercially driven too.
"There is an expectation from customers. They expect more from an outsourcing supplier than from their own staff. They want to make sure people working on their outsourced contracts are commercially driven," said Marriott.
Capita expects to increase its IT workforce from 1,800 to more than 2,300 next year to meet rising demand for outsourced IT services and project work. This follows a 20% increase in staff last year.
"We will need people across the range - everything from junior helpdesk staff to very technical people and developers. A fair number of new hires will be in project management and change management, it is right across the board," said Marriott.
Capita estimates that about half of its new staff will come from customers under Tupe staff transfer regulations and the other half will be fresh recruits.