|Education and Skills Commission|
In March, The Corporate IT Forum's Education & Skills Commission supported the EC's Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs Initiative. It aims to address the circa 900 000 Information and Communication technologies (ICT) job vacancies expected to exist in Europe by 2015. Despite the current levels of unemployment, the number of digital jobs is growing by more than 100 000 per year. Yet the number of fresh ICT graduates and skilled ICT workers is not keeping up. Read Neelie Kroes' Blog
IT and Telecomms expertise is key to increasing productivity and competitiveness in virtually every UK business. Furthermore, technology and telecommunications are highly important industries in their own right. The challenge is to clearly define how to supply the UK economy with a sufficiently skilled workforce, with accurate and up-to-date knowledge that matches business requirements.
The challenge extends beyond ICT specialists; UK Plc must have business leaders and strategists who are IT literate and have a good understanding of key technologies and what they enable if it is to realize the potential of ICT to transform business performance.
The Corporate IT Forum and ICT
The Corporate IT Forum's interest in ICT Training and Education is to ensure that its members have access to an appropriately educated talent pool emerging from schools and universities, and that UK plc and Government policies create an environment where member organisations have workforces with the knowledge and skills that will enable IT innovation and infrastructure in keeping with world leading businesses.
The Commission's work
The Commission has just submitted its concerns to the Department of Education about the removal of the existing mandatory ICT curriculum in schools. The Commission is urging the Government to keep the current programme of study for ICT in place until a new, more challenging computer science based curriculum is implemented in September 2014. The Commission does not believe that there should be disapplication ahead of substitution. There should be no period of time when children are not studying ICT in a structured way, as part of their formal education.
The Commission is calling for a new more challenging curriculum to be, which nurtures both the IT specialists of the future and business leaders who understand the possibilities that technology creates. It believes the main challenge to creating a more innovative curriculum is the absence of teachers in schools with good graduate level IT qualifications and the lack of investment in training to ensure that teachers can update their knowledge and skills.
The Commission will aim to provide input and guidance on attainment targets that would better meet the needs of employers. Over half of skilled IT professionals work within (and are needed by) technology user organisations. They should be encouraged to support schools with their input and experiences.
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