U.K. to launch IT skills school next year

Published 7 December 2009

The U.K. government has given the green light for launching an IT skills school; the U.K. technology sector requires 140,000 new IT recruits each year; the skills academy aims to turn out the kind of IT pros the industry is crying out for: those with both technical and business skills

The opening of a National Skills Academy for IT> in the United Kingdom has moved a step closer, after the government announced it has approved the business plan submitted by sector skills body e-skills UK

Natasha Lomas writes that in October 2008 the government gave the green light to a tech academy on account of IT’s “critical” role in growing the national economy, and because of strong and growing demand for tech workers — more than 140,000 new IT recruits are required by the industry every year, according to e-skills UK.

Budding techies seeking to sign up will have to wait until autumn 2010 when the Academy is due to open.

Earlier this year e-skills UK’s own Web site stated the Academy would launch this year but a spokesman for the organization said this was a publishing error. “This is the timing that we’ve always had in mind in terms of the Academy,” he added. A spokeswoman for e-skills said: “There is absolutely no delay in our plans which from the outset included a prudent degree of flexibility.

When it is up and running, the Academy will offer tech courses and qualifications developed by employers with the aim of turning out the kind of IT pros the industry is crying out for: those with both technical andbusiness skills. It will train at least 10,000 people in its first three years of operation, according to e-skills UK.

The spokeswoman added: “We are delighted that our business plan has been approved and our priority now is to get the Skills Academy running successfully as soon as possible.”

Announcing approval of the business plan last week, skills minister Kevin Brennan said in a statement: “High level IT skills are essential to the future of Digital Britain and will help us boost our global competitiveness and productivity. This Academy will play a vital role in helping people gain those technical and professional IT skills necessary for a better future, both for themselves and the country.”