Your shout: More on ageism, the NHS's tragi-comedy

Have your say at

Have your say at

Too much, too young is no answer to the skills gap

Julian Divett, chief operating officer, FDM Group

I could not agree more with Richard Hind in his letter criticising the proposed IT diploma as a replacement for A levels (Computer Weekly, 12 September).

Aside from a few exceptional students, most 16 to 19-year-olds are not ready to take Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) exams, and even if they are, are they really ready for the workplace?

E-skills UK is talking about creating the managers of the future through this scheme. Our company hires and trains a large number of graduates each year and we have to sift through huge numbers of candidates before accepting the few that will really make it.

Although we should encourage more people into the industry, 16 is too young to start specialising. Recent surveys have shown that employers need more rounded individuals with better core skills.

If we are going to invest more money in education, it should be spent on higher education where students are more ready and able to pass these exams.

How not to get stuck in a career cul-de-sac

Mike Gardiner, Gardiner & Associates

As a recruitment consultant, I can confirm that Ibukun Abebayo's article on ageism (Computer Weekly, 19 September) has some sound points, but it also has some stinkers in it.

She is right to comment on the need to acquire qualifications as you go along during your career. But there is more to this point - one of the most difficult aspects of managing a career in IT is remaining current in terms of technology. There are dozens of career cul-de-sacs and new ones are forming every week. Wherever you are and whatever you do it is essential to understand in detail what skills are in demand at that moment and make sure you have one or more of them.

Second, understand the market value of those skills - that's what's on offer, nothing else. Be realistic.

Third, don't leave your age or any other important information off your CV. It's childish to try and obtain a job through subterfuge or ignorance. A job, like any other business arrangement, works best when it is based on trust and is to mutual benefit.

Don't be frightened of overqualificationism

Ibukun Adebayo, Director of IT, Turning Point

In response to Paul Durrant's letter (Computer Weekly, 26 September), the idea behind my suggestion to get as many qualifications as possible is to enable one to be able to work in as many different areas of IT as possible, and to set up as a consultant if necessary.

Yes, this involves hard work to gain initial clients but can be just as fruitful as working for an employer and more satisfying than letting those qualifications you've worked so hard to gain go to waste.

Also, when applying for a job, it's best to put only your qualifications relevant to that role on your CV. It doesn't take the other qualifications you hold away from you, but just eliminates the "overqualified" argument. Hopefully, there may yet be a law in future banning "overqualificationism".

In the meantime, don't give up, but maybe consider being a consultant rather than an employee.

A quiet smile at an unintended comic turn

Bob Ballard, IT dept, Ocean Finance & Mortgages

I couldn't help but smile at your lead story (Computer Weekly, 3 October) about Accenture's withdrawal from the NHS National Programme for IT, when I turned the page to see their advertisement with the slogan "High performance. Delivered.". Sales and marketing do keep me amused.

A question of identity for the new chief executive

Clive Stachon

Well, well Accenture quits its £2bn NHS National Programme for IT contract, but James Hall, who was responsible for the contract, is now to take over another multi-billion pound project as the first chief executive of the Identity and Passport Service.

How can a man who is part of an organisation that didn't deliver the goods in full now be appointed head of another government project? It will be interesting to see how that goes and whether someone jumps ship if a project hits the rocks.

Your chemistry lesson takes us back to basics

Malcolm Irving, senior user support analyst, CAF

Your article on batteries (Computer Weekly, 3 October) says that "fuel-cell batteries work by converting chemical energy into electricity". You don't say! Isn't this how all batteries work?

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