British Kids Shunning Tech Degrees

The pursuit of IT-related degrees fell by about 50% in four years, despite the industry growing at five to eight times the average in Britain

The UK's technology industry is under threat as fewer people choose IT-related degrees and careers.

The uptake of IT-related degrees has almost halved within four years from 27,000 in 2001 to 14,700 in 2005, according to research from e-skills UK.

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said technology-based degrees must adapt to reflect the broader range of capabilities required to be successful within a modern career in IT. She added that employers are often recruiting from non-technical disciplines to obtain these skills.

The UK's position as a provider of world-class expertise in the IT arena will be threatened unless more people join the industry, the organisation warned.

Richard Pettinger, course director of the BSc Information management business course at University College London, told people are now growing up surrounded by computers, so an IT-related degree may not be the obvious choice to sixth-form students.

Pettinger said: "Universities need to go into schools and make it clear to sixth formers what an IT-related degree can offer them in the future."

The UK's IT sector is growing at five to eight times the national average for industry growth but only three in 10 technology graduates choose to enter the IT workforce, e-skills UK research found.

Pettinger added many IT graduates may be tempted by offers from investment banks, financial services institutions or consultancy work from the likes of Accenture and Deloitte, instead of pure IT-based careers.

Two separate pieces of previous research found employers and universities are failing to provide the IT skills needed by workers, while vocational courses are gaining support.

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