E-Skills programme to ramp up student numbers in IT

E-Skills UK has launched an initiative to attract young students to IT-related degrees.

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E-Skills UK has launched an initiative to attract young students to IT-related degrees.

The "Revitalise IT" scheme will aim "to transform the attitudes of young people to IT-related education and careers, and support universities in developing and promoting courses that reflect the needs of IT professional careers" according to an E-Skills statement.

E-Skills UK, along with employers, universities and schools, will collaborate on the initiative, which has two parts. The first of these, "AmbITion", will aim to change attitudes towards technology-related degrees and careers. It will "include a special emphasis on widening participation in higher education and improving the gender balance in IT".

The "Catalyst" programme will focus on degree curricula, promoting the capabilities graduates develop from different types of IT-related degree courses and encouraging curriculum development in areas of industry growth.

Karen Price, CEO of e-Skills UK, said: "The IT and telecoms sector makes a vital contribution to the UK's long-term prosperity in an increasingly competitive global economy. The IT professional workforce in the UK has almost doubled in the last 12 years: from 550,000 to around one million today, and will continue to grow strongly over the coming decade. At the same time, every year fewer young people choose to undertake an IT-related degree, with a drop of around half (46%) since 2001. There is a mismatch here that urgently needs to be addressed."

Enterprises and academic institutions currently participating in the Revitalise IT initiative include Vodafone, Microsoft, LogicaCMG, the BBC, Cisco, Apple, Accenture and John Lewis, and the University of Kent, University of Greenwich, University of Reading, Oxford Brookes University, University College London and City University London.

The Revitalise IT initiative will focus primarily on London and the South East of England and will run until 2009. It is expected to involve more than 40,000 students.

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