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Britain 'must lead the world in IT'
Keywords Information technology, Policy, United Kingdom
Patricia Hewitt, Minister for Electronic Commerce, has called for the UK to lead the world in the supply of highly-skilled information technology (IT) and electronics specialists. She has welcomed a report entitled Skills for the Information Age, which Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers presented in a speech to the Confederation of British Industry. Patricia Hewitt said:
In the knowledge economy, the development of intellectual capital is paramount - no more so than in IT, communications and electronics, which are the technologies on which all businesses increasingly depend.
The clear message from industry is that the countries which are best able to meet the skill needs of these sectors will enjoy a major competitive advantage:
It is vital that the UK enjoys a plentiful supply of people who possess the right skills for jobs in IT, communications and electronics - people who can design and manufacture hardware and software and people who install and manage complex IT and communications systems.
The report sets out 16 recommendations for tackling skill shortages. They include:
a new skills council for IT, communications and electronics, to drive forward improvements in the supply of skills;
a sustained campaign to raise awareness about careers in IT, communications and electronics, particularly targeting children and women; and
better dialogue between business and education to address skill needs, and new ways to define and measure skill needs for these industries.