IT services companies and the British Computer Society are collaborating in a series of joint careers fairs to encourage university graduates to consider joining the IT profession.
Nine major employers, including Accenture, Atos, BT, Capgemini, Logica CMG and Microsoft, are working together to organise a series of careers fairs at leading universities, supported by Computer Weekly.
The project, dubbed "What's IT all about?" comes amid mounting concerns that the number of young people showing an interest in a career in IT is declining at a time when demand for quality staff is rising.
"It is always a challenge to attract graduates. Over the past couple of years there has been more competition and a lot of career choice for graduates," said Suzy Style, head of UK graduate recruitment at Accenture.
The project will offer graduates the chance to find out about working in the IT profession and will give students the chance to listen to a series of "day in the life" sessions from recent graduates working in different areas of IT.
Students will also have the opportunity to listen to presentations on hot topics including security, networks, multimedia and big software projects, and to attend skills sessions on interviews and completing application forms.
There is also an evening networking session, which allows graduates to mingle with employees.
Accenture said it aimed to recruit 400 graduates this year. "We have to do a multitude of things to target students. We also run milkround presentations, go to careers fairs, networking events and get involved in organisations such as [student helpline] Nightline," said Style.
The company plans to take graduates on from both arts and IT backgrounds for IT and business consulting roles, ranging from testing and process mapping to developing proposals and working with end-users.
It favours students who perform well academically but can also show they have made the most of university by getting involved with clubs and societies, teaching English abroad, or doing charity work.
"We look at their initiative, adaptability, problem solving skills and decisiveness," Style said.
The first pilot career fair took place at the University of Manchester earlier this month, and another event will be held at the University of Birmingham on 29 November.