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Wanted – more IT training, quickly!


The International Data Corporation has recently published the results of its survey into skills shortages in the IT industry. These indicate that the gap in the demand for skilled IT technicians is getting worse and that this is already having a serious impact on the ability of businesses to grow, develop and compete successfully in the new economy marketplace.

One estimate is that by 2002, the UK economy could be experiencing a shortfall of over 80,000 skilled IT staff, whilst across Europe, the figure may be 8-10 times this level.

These findings come at the same time as press reports compare the recent growth in the UK economy to that of the rest of Europe. New figures this week show that Britain has recently overtaken France in the European league table. Two reasons are cited for this improvement: the reduction in restrictive practices in the UK economy, and the explosion on the UK's new media economy.

The IDC report suggests that a serious and substantial investment is required in IT training to deal with the shortages. Two year's ago, the government embarked on a crash training programme for IT training to cope with the millennium bug. That sort of effort needs to be re-focused now, so that Britain retains its position in the new economy.

Next week's UK Budget statement is likely to have a direct bearing on the problem. The employment situation of many IT trainers is affected by the draft changes to IR35 tax scheduling, and there may be other changes to encourage greater employment of IT specialists throughout Europe.


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