Lord Leitch applauds IT firms' commitment to skills training

The IT industry's approach to training is "exemplary" and better than most other sectors, said Lord Leitch, whose influential review on skills underpins the government's policy on training.

The IT industry's approach to training is "exemplary" and better than most other sectors, said Lord Leitch, whose influential review on skills underpins the government's policy on training.

Speaking at a Westminster select committee on Monday (28 April), Lord Leitch said the willingness of IT employers to work with government and universities to improve training and education is "incredibly impressive".

The Leitch Review highlighted the UK's need to develop better high-level skills if it is to compete on a global scale. He emphasised that much of the input into training courses - as well as the funding - must come from employers.

Leitch was asked to justify his report's conclusions, the final part of which was published in December 2006, by MPs at a Department of Universities, Innovation and Skills select committee.

Employers need to be shown the incentives of investing in training. IT employers are setting an example that others should follow, he said.

"IT technicians and professionals are becoming more important for the UK economy. We were incredibly impressed at how IT companies across the nation have come together for a common good."

He said that the global nature of IT means the industry will have to work even harder to ensure Britain retains its competitiveness.

"India and China are developing IT professionals at a meteoric rate. IT must be one of the most globalised industries. This steps up the pace. If you are going to succeed, you have to be better than your global competitors."

The government set up Sector Skills Councils in each industry to give employers more input into education. Lord Leitch described E-Skills, the IT sector skills council, as "exemplary", and a "leading light".

He said, "E-Skills got together and said, we need more graduates who study a curriculum that suits business. They pooled resources and worked with universities and employers to design courses. This is the way forward."

Leitch said that not all sector skills councils were "doing well". He said, "It is about strong leadership, getting employers to come together, and that's what we saw in E-Skills."




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