Get out of the classroom and into the server room, teachers told

IT teachers should complete placements in IT departments so they can tell their pupils how businesses use technology and inspire them to pursue a career in IT.
Written by Sam Shead, Contributor

Teachers should do placements in IT departments in order to gain an understanding of the links between tech and business, according to a body representing the IT sector. 

The Corporate IT Forum Education and Skills Commission said in its The Early Years report, published on Monday, that sending teachers to do placements at IT companies will equip them with useful knowledge they can pass onto their pupils and use to demonstrate how important IT skills are for most careers.

"The commission thinks IT teachers are missing the understanding of how these latest technologies sit within the business context," Joanna Poplawska, performance director at The Corporate IT Forum, told ZDNet. "In the end, it's about being able to present it to young people and to make them aware that IT can have all different roles and support all types of businesses and that it's not just about working for Microsoft."

The report claims the placements will also be useful because it will enable teachers to develop their own personal careers by providing them with an insight into the current technologies that are being used across a wide range of businesses and organisations. 

However, there is a long way to go as it is almost unheard of for an IT teacher to do a work placement at present, according to Poplawska. She also argues that the changing nature of IT means that IT teachers should receive longer industry placements than teachers for other subjects.

In addition to opening IT departments to teachers, Poplawska thinks businesses should run computing clubs for pupils and aim to create IT role models to inspire children so they pursue a career in IT. 

"We'd like to see more of a collaboration between educational institutions and organisations because we have to recognise that within the IT departments of large corporations there is so much knowledge, while on the other hand school resources are very limited," said Poplawska.

The Early Years is one of four reports to be published by The Corporate IT Forum Education and Skills Commission addressing the IT skills crisis in the UK. 

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