Telecomms giant GPT, which is looking to hire more than 300 engineers across the country in the next three years, has slammed the quality of graduates applying for its jobs.
Senior engineering manager Phil Griffin said the candidates were not as good as they had been in previous years and the recruitment drive was proving very slow.
"We announced that we wanted 60 graduates earlier this year, but so far, despite an extensive advertising campaign, we have only got half that number," Griffin said.
There had been a good response for the jobs for software and hardware engineers, but the percentage of people whom GPT considered were qualified to do the work was small.
Griffin blames universities that are producing 'IT experts' who are capable of knowing what a computer does, but lack the necessary design or technical skills. "We need people with design skills in C or C++. Some of our applicants know a little bit about the C language, but have never been taught the standard C model - which is a key part of program design," he complained.
On the hardware side, there were few candidates who could deal with the A6 technology that was crucial for the production of GPT's market leading SDH line of products.
Griffin added that GPT was the main stop for postgraduate telecommunication engineers, as there were few competitors in the market and courses needed to be a tailored for industry needs.
To counter the skill's shortage, GPT is to approach universities and offer help and scholarships to make sure that they turn out students with the skills it needs.
"We have decided that we have to be a lot more creative and take a longer view about how we get the sort of staff we want," Griffin said.
Meanwhile GPT's development director Neale Clarke has announced the company will be creating more than 300 IT jobs in the next three years. "This is an enormously growing industry and over the next few years we are expecting to have to step up our recruiting operations still further," he added.
The company now has one-third of the world's market for telecommunications equipment.
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