A new employers' curriculum forum has been set up by training organisation eSkills UK to address ongoing concerns about the quality of IT education in the UK.
The taskforce - which brings together major UK IT employers including IBM, Dell and Norwich Union - aims to put together the industry view of the key skills today's IT graduates are lacking.
The move coincides with the publication of a damming new report from the skills body, which warns that IT education is still failing the industry.
The report warns that more needs to be done to ensure course content and qualifications are relevant to the industry, and is calling on greater collaboration between employers and educators to address ongoing skills shortages across the sector.
New technologies and even basic IT platform skills, interpersonal skills, operating system and database skills are all highlighted by the report as being in shortest supply.
Terry Watts, UK chief operating officer of eSkills, said: "Technology comes way down the list of skills requirements of employers. But depending on the ethos of universities, some of the old establishment universities still focus on producing graduates rather than 'oven-ready employees'."
The eSkills UK report also criticises UK plc for failing to invest in ongoing skills development of IT staff in its latest analysis of skills issues facing the country.
Although the economic climate has forced employers to make better use of in-house employees rather than take on new staff, more needed to be done, Watts said. "If you are already in a job there is more chance that you will get training. In the long term that will do us good."
Skills gaps across the industry continue, although employers are taking on fewer staff than before and figures from contractor body the Professional Contractors Group suggest the number of contractors off-contract is at an all-time high.
But some startling regional variations have emerged as a result of the eSkills UK study. Employers in the South East and Northern Ireland were most likely to report skills gaps. And new graduates continue to shun job opportunities around the country in favour of London and the South East.
Meanwhile government targets to offer all services online by 2005 has created a boom in public sector IT job opportunities, according to IT recruitment consultancy Elan.
Revenues of Elan's own public sector division have increased by over 900 per cent in the last two years, with project management, business analysis, change management and service delivery skills topping the list of those most in demand.
Gary Lawton, head of Elan's public sector division, said: "As the importance of modernising government rises high up the list of priorities, we have seen many new IT projects starting and a willingness to outsource more IT assignments."
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