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IT Skills Gap needs filling

UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 03 OCTOBER 2011

As unemployment currently stands at over 1.5 million a Birmingham academic is suggesting that prospective students consider careers in IT.

Dr Peter Rayson, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment, said that research indicates that the IT sector is expected to grow four times faster than the rest of the UK's employment sectors over the next 10 years. He argues that in an unstable economic environment, students studying in this field could find themselves in a better position to gain employment than other graduates. According to the IT sector skills council, e-skills UK, many employers are still struggling to fill certain technology positions, despite the current economic climate. The e-skills UK research shows that the number of people employed in IT grew at twice the rate of the UK average over the past eight years, reaching more than 1.1m people today and claims the IT industry will need more than 110,000 new entrants each year.

Oracle and SAP

IT skills that have been highlighted as being in demand are Oracle and SAP, as employers seek more high-end technical expertise, according to Computer Weekly magazine. They quote a recruitment company, Maximus, which has found that the demand for these specialities have increased 100% in the second quarter of this year, compared with the first quarter. This is the highest growth the company has recorded since the recession began in 2008. The growth is being attributed to organisations investing in their existing IT systems to improve efficiencies and gain competitive advantage over rivals, and businesses wanting innovative, low-cost solutions that will provide them with greater business intelligence, insight and visibility as a means to develop and enhance their customer and partner relationships.

Dr Rayson said: “Birmingham City University is in a position to offer these in-demand skills to students within our School of Computing, Technology and Networks. Last year through close collaboration with Birmingham City Council and the University Alliances division of SAP, we launched the ‘Institute of Innovation for Enterprise Systems’.

SAP’s University Alliances program

“Birmingham City Council is the world’s largest, local-authority user of SAP enterprise systems software and the University’s partnership initiative with the Council and SAP’s University Alliances program has resulted in a significant, joint commitment which will develop a unique knowledge-base in the City.

“In a time of economic uncertainty it is testament to the University’s commitment to student employability that we are producing graduates with skills that are needed by employers. We are encouraging anyone who wants to find out more about the courses that we offer at Faculty of Technology, Engineering and the Environment to come to our open days on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October, 10am-4pm at our campus at Millennium Point.”

For further details about the open days visit http://www.bcu.ac.uk/student-info/open-days

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