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IT worker shortage sees new academy formed to teach school leavers practical technology skills

IT worker shortage sees new academy formed to teach school leavers practical technology skills

Bright Technology sets up training academy to help counter UK's IT skills gap

 With the UK's IT industry suffering from a massive skills gap, a group of school leavers hoping to improve their career prospects are undertaking a free course with a leading IT consultancy. 

The Bright Academy is being run by London-based IT consultancy Bright Technology (www.bright.co) and has been created to focus on practical skills, with classroom-based lessons taking a backseat.

The four students attending the Bright Academy have the opportunity to earn A certifications and MCITP (Microsoft Certified IT Professional) certifications in various different skills during the eight-week course. 

Rather than theory-based study, students attending the Bright Academy learn practical IT skills that reflect the everyday experiences of IT managers – real world implementations, building servers and PCs, and even interacting with customers. 

"I think working in the Bright Academy will increase the chances of me getting a job by improving my knowledge and skills whilst gaining a lot of vital experience," said Aaron Kamese, one of the Bright Academy students. 

Phil Taphouse, Service Delivery Manager at Bright Technology, said: "Despite the growing number of skilled IT workers required in the UK, the education system and government efforts to provide them are coming up short. Most current courses and schemes tend to be time-consuming, meaning that the training is often irrelevant and outdated by the time the course is over."

"What's more, many training schemes don't give students the practical skills they need to survive in an IT job. There is only so much you can tell someone about how to build a server – they can't turn up in their new job having never actually done so before," he continued. 

Earlier this year, professional services firm Ernst & Young said that the UK had a skills gap that would "probably take a generation to fill" thanks to the decision by many large organisations to offshore their technology operations to India in the mid-1990s (http://bit.ly/Sn5rqh). 

Just last month, the European Commission announced that it was investing &euro1m (about &pound860,000) in digital initiatives to counteract the shortage of technology skills in Europe. Jobs based around IT are growing in number by around 100,000 every year, according to a BBC report (http://bbc.in/15v2qsb) but "the number of skilled IT graduates is failing to keep pace".

"While there is a massive shortage of appropriately-trained IT workers in this country – and in Europe – the numbers being trained in the Bright Academy may seem like a drop in the ocean. But we plan to expand the scheme in coming years and hope that ICT education and training schemes in the UK can be improved so this gap can be filled," said Taphouse.

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