Labour Party leader Ed Miliband has called for big IT companies to hire a UK apprentice for every non-EU IT worker they hire here, in an attempt to tackle the country's IT skills shortage.
Outline plans for the proposal were tabled at Labour's party conference this autumn, but have now been given greater impetus after Miliband announced that Maggie Philbin, the former Tomorrow’s World presenter and CEO of TeenTech, has been appointed to head an independent Digital Skills Taskforce, on behalf of the party.
She will work with schools, colleges and employers to produce clear recommendations before the next election to address Britain’s skills gap in IT.
Miliband announced the move on a visit to East London's Tech City.
Miliband said of the government: “We hear a lot from David Cameron about the global race. But the truth is that he is letting down Britain’s businesses and our young people.
“IT apprenticeships have fallen from 18,520 to 13,750 in the last year alone, leaving businesses having to recruit workers from abroad."
He added: “Businesses need to be able to recruit talent and plug the skill gaps by hiring from overseas. But both they and government have a responsibility to ensure that in the future we have the skills needed for Britain to succeed in the future."
Philbin said: “Britain has led the world in new technologies for decades but we need to make sure we do everything to maintain that success by training and developing the talents that our country needs.
"I would like to emphasise that this is a completely independent piece of work which will be shared with all political parties to inform future policies as they see fit.”
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