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BCS: Training, Not Infrastructure, Will Bring Recovery

The BCS relaunches its training organisation, with an assertion that skills are more important than infrastructure which supports training and skills sees education as key to economic recovery

Improving IT training and skills is more important than building new infrastructure when it comes to helping the UK tech industry recover from the recession according to research from the BCS.

The survey from the The BCS Chartered Institute for IT released this week revealed that 65 percent of IT professionals surveyed wanted to see more focus on IT education, training and developing technical skills.

The research also found that 64 percent of IT managers believe the UK will emerge from recession by the end of 2010 and 54 percent are positive about the economic prospects for the IT industry over the coming year.

“Investment in IT education and skills is essential if we are to turn a nascent economic recovery into a long-term competitive advantage,” said David Clarke, BCS chief executive (pictured). To be successful, we need a high performing IT education system and a population with the IT skills to be productive, empowered citizens.”

Also commenting on the research, David A. Smith, chief executive of Global Futures and Foresight, said that training is vital if UK workers are to keep pace with new, disruptive technologies. “New communications technologies, including the use of AI driven avatars, holograms and virtual worlds, will increasingly challenge the ageing UK workforce. We will need to develop world class skills in managing and exploiting these and other emerging technologies, amidst a forecast talent shortage, so that we can engage with the rapidly developing economies that these technologies create.”

Earlier this week, the BCS rebranded itself as “the Chartered Institute of IT”, and re-launched its training programme under the name Academy of Computing which will provide specialist training and encourage IT in schools. The BCS also supports training in Green IT.

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According to another survey released this week from IT company Logicalis, teenagers concerned about their job prospects are considering courses and careers which they perceive as more likely to lead to employment, and these include IT and engineering.

But despite the perception that technical jobs offer a safer career choice, numerous IT companies have announced large staff cuts amid the recession. Last month, BT announced that it had decided to suspend its graduate scheme for 2010. “In light of the current economic environment and headcount pressures, BT has taken the decision to cease graduate recruitment activity and are no longer running a graduate recruitment programme,” a company spokesperson told the BBC.

In May, BT announced that it planned to lay off 15,000 staff after it reported an annual loss of £134m. The company has already shed around 15,000 jobs this year which was about 5000 more than had been expected by industry watchers.

Unions also criticised Fujitsu UK last month for announcing plans to cut around 1200 jobs in its services arm. Unions say the move is unnecessary given the company’s relatively healthy profits.