The IT sector is to get a share of £200m of government capital to be invested in new training facilities.
The investment, to be made over the next three years, is part of a wider move, signalled over the weekend by John Denham, secretary of state for innovation, universities and skills, that the government will focus attention on developing skills in a number of strategic sectors.
Government research estimates UK businesses will be looking for more than 160,000 extra IT staff by 2014. This is in addition to the 190,000 IT professionals identified by the report, Working Futures 2004-2014, needed to replace those currently working in IT who will retire or otherwise leave the industry over the next seven years.
The money will come from existing further education budgets rather than additional funding. IT's slice of the pie has yet to be announced. Denham is to arrange meetings next month with the industry-led sector skills councils, including E-Skills UK, to identify how the money should be invested.
Karen Price, CEO of E-Skills UK, says, "We very much welcome the government's recognition of the strategic importance of the IT sector to the economy. Our recent research, IT & Telecoms Insights 2008, highlighted the continued growth of the sector, and the profound implications of globalisation on its skills needs. Every part of the economy depends on the expertise of the UK's IT professionals, and these plans to allocate more funds to help address the sector's priority skills needs will be greatly welcomed by employers".