U.K. Government sets green ICT targets for 2015

The government is aiming to achieve 10 improvements in its green ICT practice by the end of 2014-15, along with using more efficient data centres and recycling much of its computer hardware, according to a new document from the Cabinet Office. Greening Government: ICT Strategy, one of the sub-strategies of the Government ICT Strategy, makes the commitments as part of a four year implementation plan in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of its ICT estate and make it more energy efficient. 
One of the key targets is to achieve 10 of the 14 areas of improved practice outlined in an accompanying roadmap document. These cover procurement, energy management, consolidation, print, network rationalisation, supply chain, apps rationalisation, virtualisation, consolidation, data centre efficiency, storage rationalisation, recycling and ways of working.

Roundtable – « Bridging the Gap between Market Needs and Training Outcomes: Seizing the Opportunity of e-Jobs », 17 April 2012, London

The e-Jobs Observatory organises a rountable in London to explore the gap between market needs and training outcomes in Internet-related jobs. The meeting will take place on 17 April 2012 at e-Skills UK, 1 Castle Lane, London SW1E 6DR.
The roundtable aims at fostering better interaction between key stakeholders, improving the quality of Vocational Education & Training (VET) in the field of e-Jobs, improving the employability of job seekers and reducing the e-skills shortages on the EU labour market.
In addition, a proposal for a Label of Excellence and Seal of Market Compliance for e-Jobs training courses and modules will be presented to key stakeholders to obtain their valuable feedback.
The Roundtable is one of a series organised by the e-Jobs Observatory in different EU countries during the Spring of 2012.


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Teaching of computer science in UK lacks relevance

The teaching of computer science must become more relevant to modern needs, said the government. The UK government said the current teaching of IT was « insufficiently rigorous and in need of reform ». This impression results from an industry report investigating technology teaching in the UK. The report was published in October and criticised current ICT classes as those tended to aim at conveying how to use software instead of writing it. As a consequence, a major task would be to investigate ways to tempt good teachers of computer science into schools.

More specialist IT skills needed among young people in Britain

The IT employment sector is growing five times faster than the UK average. In the next five years some 500,000 new entrants will be needed. However most of these jobs – research analysts, software developers, infrastructure specialists, systems engineers – will demand higher level qualifications and skills.

There are specially real opportunities for young people who are increasingly under-represented in the IT sector. Educational performance will need to radically transform to provide the calibre of entrants required. An overhaul of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) curriculum is required. It is hoped that Behind the Screen, an industry-funded trial of a new computing curriculum, will help to achieve this. Co-opting tech companies on to school governing bodies would promote the sector to young people. [Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk]

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UK: Report on Skills for Business

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has released a report on « Skills for Business: more to learn? » that sets out recommendations to help resolve the skills shortage in the UK and improve the employability of the British workforce. The BCC’s research looked at the issues around skills, apprenticeships and training to understand the challenges faced by businesses operating in a labour market dramatically altered by the financial crisis.
One of the main findings shows that the majority of businesses find it hard to recruit the right staff. 45.4% of businesses reported it very or quite difficult to find the right staff member for a position and only 27.8% find it very or quite easy.

John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce comments that « a skilled workforce is fundamental to every successful business in the UK, and developing the capability of our workforce is crucial for economic growth and international competitiveness. Our members recognise the importance of investing in skills and training, even when times are financially hard. Even though the businesses that we surveyed are keen to recruit new staff members and expand, a lack of appropriate skills within the labour pool is limiting business growth. »

Download the report

Roundtable Meeting in Norwich – 7 April 2011

In the context of the Pro Internet project, a Roundtable Meeting on the “Needs of the Internet Industry Making Offer and Demand meet in Training and Education” took place in Norwich on 7 April 2011.

Its main conclusions were:

  • The most exciting prospects for new job creation are in combining traditional skills and competences with internet-based skills and competences.
  • Managers in large and small organisations still need to become fully aware of the opportunities in using/implementing the internet in their relevant business/organisational processes.
  • Intensified collaboration between training institutions and prospective employers is necessary and should be facilitated by government.
  • A proper investigation into what is exactly meant by “soft skills” needs to be carried out.
  • Employers call for highly specialist and modular trainings. Training institutions should follow this call. Governments should facilitate the process with light rather than heavy-handed intervention.
  • An information exchange platform at European level as a best/good practice transfer mechanism and a means to provide comparability of approaches, methods, frameworks and outcomes is useful.
  • Attempts to develop a labelisation, certification and normalization activity at European level must be envisaged over the long-term and must secure the buy-in of national labelisation, certification and normalization processes.
  • Collaboration with e-Skills UK, the STEM Centre and the Hotsource network should be explored.

 The full summary can be downloaded here.