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Employers unite to help new IT professionals meet the challenges of globalisation
Source: Antony Savvas, Computer weekly, 22 January 2008
A revolutionary development programme to fast-track the careers of new IT professionals is announced today by e-skills UK, the employer-led Sector Skills Council for IT and Telecoms. This unique Masters' level programme is being created by universities and employers. Universities will also work with participating employers to deliver it.
Karen Price, CEO e-skills UK said: "Many traditional entry-level IT roles are disappearing from the UK due to offshoring and technological advances. At the same time, increasing numbers of IT professional roles in the UK are becoming focused on highly skilled, customer-focused areas such as project management, business analysis and solutions design.
"This means that new IT professionals must be able to progress rapidly to demanding roles without access to the kind of jobs that would help them to build their skills and experience: they have to climb a career ladder with the bottom rungs missing. Our new programme will help to bridge this gap, enabling graduate recruits to build a strong foundation of competence in the early years of their career. It will make a real difference to new IT professionals and their employers."
Companies large and small are backing the programme, including Accenture, Aviva, BA, BBC, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Cable and Wireless, Cisco, EDS, Fujitsu, Government, HP, IBM, LogicaCMG, Microsoft, Oracle, Reuters, Royal Mail, Sainsburys, UBS, Unilever, Vodafone and Whitbread.
Between them, these organisations employ around one in four (25%) of the UK's IT and Telecoms professionals.
Bill Thomas, Executive Vice President of EDS in EMEA, said: "We are delighted to be working with e-skills UK on this programme. Our universities have an excellent track record in teaching higher level skills. This programme will bring that expertise together with content that really meets employer needs, helping new recruits to progress quickly to the high value, customer-focused roles that underpin business success."
Universities already involved in the programme include Cranfield University, Lancaster University Management School, Manchester Business School, the Open University and UCL.
Linda A Macaulay, Professor of System Design at Manchester Business School, said: "We welcome this opportunity to work closely with employers to introduce a recognised, respected development programme that is totally focused on employer needs. The programme's innovative structure and delivery will take a realistic and practical approach to IT professional development, maximising learning opportunities while minimising the time spent away from work. It will acknowledge that all learning counts, whether university-based, work-based or developed through prior experience. We are extremely excited by the potential of the programme and our role in its design, delivery and assessment."
The programme is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
John Selby, Director with Responsibility for Strategic Subjects at HEFCE, said: "We are committed to encouraging closer collaboration between higher education institutions and employers to support the continued professional development of the workforce. We believe that this programme has the potential to provide a model of effective and mutually beneficial partnerships between industry and HE in the development and delivery of professional post-graduate education."
The content of the programme will reflect the industry-endorsed IT Professional Competency Model (PROCOM), which is mapped to the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) to provide a framework for IT professional learning and qualifications.