The e-skills4industry programme, a public-private partnership, has helped scores of youngsters to take up IT support careers in major firms.
Developed by consultancy Deloitte and Touche, the scheme has the backing of firms including Computacenter, HSBC, and News International. The programme aims to give youngsters who have not performed well at school, but who show an aptitude for working in a business, the opportunity to learn IT skills.
Youngsters spend a year studying a mixture of computer maintenance, networking and "soft" skills at college before taking up work placements with potential employers.
Of 75 students to go on work placements, about half were later offered permanent positions by their employers.
The soft skills training is particularly important, said Richard Stone, director of the community involvement programme at Deloitte and Touche.
"The thing that many young people coming out of school lack is an understanding of [workplace] skills and behaviour. The employment skills training is all about developing workplace skills, communication, presentation and teamworking skills," he said.
A free briefing for employers on Skills4IT will be held at Information Technologists Hall in London on Thursday 26 May 2005 from 8.30am to 9.30am.