Industry backs action on training

IT leaders have welcomed a government-backed action plan which sets out to transform the way IT professionals are trained.

IT leaders have welcomed a government-backed action plan which sets out to transform the way IT professionals are trained.

The Sector Skills Agreement for IT, published by E-skills UK, will give employers the opportunity to drive IT training in universities, colleges and schools over the next 10 years.

Richard Thwaite, IT director of Ford Europe, said the education system needed to be reformed to provide IT professionals with business, strategy and communication skills.

"The main thing is to get employers and universities working together in a systematic way. The Sector Skills Agreement enables employers to come together and act collectively," he said.

Colin Thompson, deputy chief executive of the British Computer Society, was more cautious. "All of the points play a part in the solution. I do not feel we are honing-in on the skills and qualities we need at the top end of the profession," he said.

Ben Booth, chairman of the BCS Elite group of IT directors, praised the plan, but warned that E-skills could be in danger of trying to solve too many problems at the same time. He called for the government to provide financial help to smaller companies to train their IT staff.

"Some credible government-funded assistance with training would be nice, but I am a bit cynical of that happening. Larger businesses are resigned to paying for training themselves. The help for mid-sized businesses is patchy," Booth said.

"The Sector Skills Agreement for IT is a breakthrough, creating the mechanism for employers to have a real influence on, and make a real contribution to, the UK's skills pool," he said.

Employers can direct IT training >>

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