Scottish IT firms encouraged to get behind paid intern scheme

Channel businesses located north of the border are being encouraged to support a new initiative from e-Placement Scotland.

careers jobs concept.jpgChannel businesses located north of the border are being encouraged to support a new initiative from e-Placement Scotland, a paid IT work placements scheme, designed to highlight the importance of providing paid work experience positions in the industry as a means to begin to beat the skills shortage.

The ICT sector is estimated to be worth around £4bn to the Scottish economy and employs 100,000 people. With the industry predicted to grow nine times faster than the Scottish average, e-Placement Scotland reckons the sector will create 40,000 full-time roles by 2017.

The scheme, which launched last year, has already seen over 1,000 students sign up for its services, and has created 191 three month equivalent posts to date, with many of these resulting in a full-time position.

It offers students a minimum salary of £12,000 to £20,000 per annum, depending on skills and experience.

"We are delighted with the results of the last year [which] has shown there is an appetite for paid work experience from both employers and students," said Sally Smith, e-Placement Scotland project director, and head of the School of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University.

"Recent publicity surrounding unpaid work experience has shown how important it is to create meaningful paid work placements so both sides have a good experience," she said.

The scheme is targeting a multitude of relevant channel sectors, including software development and testing, busienss analysis, networks, information systems, helpdesk and IT support and product and project management.

Smith added that smaller tech firms often lacked the time or resources to take part in the traditional recruitment 'milk round', so offering paid placements through the scheme could be a way for VARs to poach talent that might otherwise be picked up by large vendors.

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