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Global IT skills challenge - conference addresses demand, supply and constraints

Securing an adequate supply of IT professionals with relevant skills while eliminating barriers to mobility of the IT workforce were two major challenges addressed at a conference, sponsored by IFIP, OECD, WITSA and supported by the British Computer Society (BCS).

'Meeting Global IT Skills Needs - the Role of Professionalism' saw 35 experts on IT Skills and Professionalism from 14 countries discuss the main occupational frameworks that were emerging internationally with a particular emphasis on IT skills needs - demand, supply and constraints.

The conference reviewed the current situation concerning IT skills globally, in particular the need for the recruitment process to take account of qualifications and experience gained in other countries. Suggestions were then sought on how to initiate global collaborative action in areas such as IT skills certification and occupational skills frameworks. Issues and recommendations discussed at the conference will be taken forward by the various participants and reported back later, with the BCS concentrating on professional standards for IT and helping to develop a high level reference model for IT practitioners and professionals.

According to John Chapman, BCS Vice President for Qualifications and Standards, who reported on the BCS's approach to professional formation in support of the conference's issue of supply, "Our role is to establish and maintain standards to accredit other organisations who develop individual professionals in accordance with the standards. The well-respected Industry Structure Model (ISM) has been developed and refined by the society as the underpinning set of development standards."

The BCS will now be working to identify the differences in obligations associated with different types of work and assisting the closer matching of employer requirements with educational provision.

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