Government Must Pay to Secure IT Skills

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The UK will face an IT ‘skills crunch’ by 2012 if the government does not offer employers incentives to train staff, a new report claims.

Tax and national insurance breaks for companies with staff on full-time IT training courses would reduce skills shortages, according to IT body Imis.

The UK is the only country in the Organisation for the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that does not offer tax incentives to employers to develop their staff. It is at the bottom of the OECD league tables for workforce qualifications.

Imis claims that major government programmes will drain the market of IT skills, leading to a ‘skills crunch’ by 2012. Work on the Olympics, the NHS IT development and the country’s ID card system will make training new staff essential.

Strategic adviser at Imis, Philip Virgo, said: “The UK could face a digital winter of discontent during the run-up to the next general election.”

Karen Price, chief executive of E-Skills, warned caution when predicting an economic crash for the market.

“We are back in another growth cycle that will lead to an acute skills shortage, but we have survived them in the past,” she commented.

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