A new Masters level fast-track training programme has been launched to boost the skills of the next generation of IT professionals in the UK.
The IT Professional Development Programme (IT PDP) has been developed by employers, universities and IT industry skills body e-skills UK and is designed to help new recruits to the industry rapidly build skills and experience in the early years of their career to fulfil the nation's need for highly skilled technology staff.
Previously, IT graduates could expect to gain entry-level experience on the job, but this vital experience can no longer be guaranteed, as technological advances and offshoring are squeezing out many traditional entry-level IT roles.
Karen Price, chief executive of e-skills UK, said IT roles are becoming increasingly focused on "highly skilled, customer-focused areas, such as project management, business analysis and solutions design" — which means IT workers must progress rapidly in order to get up to speed.
The modular Masters-level IT PDP training programme has been designed to achieve this, and technical, business, project-management and communications skills are among the areas covered in the course.
Various companies are backing IT PDP, including British Airways, the BBC, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Cable & Wireless, Cisco, EDS, Fujitsu, HP, IBM, LogicaCMG, Microsoft, Oracle and Vodafone.
Universities already involved include Cranfield University, Lancaster University Management School, Manchester Business School, the Open University and University College London.
Bill Thomas, executive European vice president at EDS, said in a statement: "Our universities have an excellent track record in teaching higher level skills. This programme will bring that expertise together with content that really meets employer needs, helping new recruits to progress quickly to the high-value, customer-focused roles that underpin business success."