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“Make Britain’s digital economy world class” – Wills


From a DfEE press release:

Education and Employment Minister Michael Wills said today that the countries best able to meet their skill needs in IT, communications and electronics (ITCE) will enjoy the most prosperity.

Mr Wills was welcoming the report "Skills for the Information Age" which Patricia Hewitt at DTI and David Blunkett launched today. The report sets out a new strategy for addressing skill needs in ITCE.

Speaking at a Skills to Prosperity Conference in Aintree, Mr Wills said: " This final report is part of the drive to deliver a crucial skills strategy in this field. This is alongside the development of a national £650 million network of learning centres and a £1.7 billion strategy to prepare our young people and teachers for the skills they will need in the future.

"We need to make Britain world class in the digital economy. The benefits of having a skilled workforce are clear - businesses are able to adapt better to new technology and use it more effectively. Productivity in the UK lags behind most of our major competitors - almost 40 per cent behind the US and 20 per cent behind France and Germany. This report and the strategy it sets out will help drive forward our quest for a stronger knowledge economy."

The report examines skill needs and how they can be met, attracting and retaining the most able people, improving links between education and business and strengthening the work of the sector bodies. A Council for ITCE Skills to unify the work of the National Training Organisations involved with ITCE skills is proposed.

The report also calls for a campaign to improve the image of ITCE jobs particularly to entice more women into the industry and put right misconceptions that ITCE work is dull and technical.

Mr Wills added:" Only half of graduates doing IT related subjects take up jobs in the industry. Better and more widely available careers information will help in our quest for a world class digital economy."


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