The government is to plough a £60m growth and innovation fund into the economy, with the IT sector expecting to see at least some of this dedicated to plugging the IT skills gap.
The fund aims to address skills shortages across all industries. It will be made available this year and similar levels of investment are expected in the next two years.
The IT industry has been blighted by a skills gap: a recent report from IT skills body e-skills UK suggested that Northern Ireland is the most adversely affected.
In January, e-skills UK said the UK IT industry must recruit 110,000 new staff. UK institutions and tech companies have tried to combat this over the last year by focussing on the development of new talent.
For example, HP and De Montfort University launched a new IT degree in October. The course will cover technical skills such as cloud computing and virtualisation.
A few weeks ago, technology trade association CompTIA also launched a global cloud computing qualification, developed with input from Microsoft, Google and IBM. It is aimed at helping current IT professionals, perhaps reducing the need for new recruits.
"The government understands that we need to tackle the skills shortages that are holding companies back. Through this fund, we will support employers that take collective action to overcome these barriers, helping to rebalance and grow our economy," said business secretary Vince Cable.
Minister for further education, skills and lifelong learning John Hayes added that government intervention must be in tune with businesses.
"Government investment in skills works best for individuals and communities when it responds directly to employers' needs," he said.
"Offering a more continuous process will ensure that public money will be able to fund more projects throughout the year, giving business the power to shape training and directly support jobs and growth."
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