The government should do more to get IT into school curricula to curb any future skills shortage in the UK tech sector, according to the head of respected Scottish IT services consultancy Newell and Budge.
Talking exclusively to vnunet.com, the Edinburgh-based company's chief executive Ann Budge said that the problem is not necessarily finding IT staff, but finding staff with leading edge skills.
"There is a shortage of the higher end skills and there will be for the foreseeable future," she explained. "One of the reasons is that people self-select themselves out of it at an early age. The curriculum should include basic skills."
Newell and Budge outsources a deal of its software operations to India where it can find the skills it needs at a lower cost.
Budge agreed that the problem was not just about promoting IT to women, but to both genders. "People don't realise until they're at university that IT is not nerdy at all," she said.
Her comments backed those of Anne Cantelo, project director at national training organisation e-skills NTO, who spoke recently at an industry gathering.
"We need to do something at a grassroots level to change the image of the industry and share lessons about how some employers have succeeded in broadening their recruitment," she said.
The e-skills NTO has launched IT Compass, a website to attract individuals from non-IT backgrounds into the industry, and has received backing from 50 companies to date, including IBM, Logica and Microsoft.
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