Cable: Education and IT will be UK's biggest export sectors

By Graeme Burton
30 Jan 2013 View Comments
Business secretary Vince Cable

The UK's education, training and technology sectors will be among the major areas of UK export growth over the next few years, claims business secretary Vince Cable - despite a forthcoming shortage of qualified computer scientists as fewer people study the subject at university.

Speaking at the BETT 2013 education show in London, Cable pointed to a number of startup educational and technology companies as examples.

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"Probably the biggest industry going forward will be education, training and technology," said Cable, adding that the government was putting in place a number of programmes to support this broad sector.

Cable pointed to the success of startup companies such as Little Bridge, which has grown fast by offering easy-to-follow, games-based English lessons for young children. Little Bridge, said Cable, has grown over the past year to achieve some £5m of exports.

However, at the same time, the number of graduates signing up for IT and computer science teacher training PGCE (Post-graduate Certificate in Education) courses has fallen by one third, according to the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR), an admissions service operated by UCAS.

The problem has been exacerbated by the Department for Education's (DfE) late confirmation of allocation numbers to teacher training courses.

As a result, universities are unsure of how to design the courses and unable to start recruitment, according to Graham Jarvis, communications officer for the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE) committee. 

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