Last updated: 20.01.14

Communication between firms and schools 'essential' to boost skills

Employers at IT organisations must strengthen ties with schools if they want to recruit staff who possess the skills they need.

This was a suggestion made at a roundtable discussion hosted by IT solutions company Stone Group in London on how to close the gap between education and the world of work, Computer World UK reports.

It was decided that business leaders should reach out to local institutions and inform them what exactly they are looking for from young people entering their workforce.

According to Maggie Kalnins, chief executive of the Inclusion Trust, employers must be the ones to take charge if they want the situation to change.

"Industry needs to force its way into schools, because schools are not going to go out to find you," she said.

The expert panel also raised the issue of work placements, calling for the heads of firms to offer such training to children as young as school age.

However, Tony Parkin, an independent educational technologist, claimed: "The problem is we've got rid of all the organisations responsible for putting businesses and schools together because the money's gone."

Financial support should not be the only way to form a connection between companies and educational institutions, rather they should communicate directly to discuss each other's needs.

So that schools are equipping pupils with the skills an IT employer might find desirable, they should look to roll out online learning platforms that will serve to familiarise them with the digital world.

Technology is becoming increasingly integral to the world of business, and having a solid understanding of how certain processes and IT applications work could improve children's job prospects.

The panel agreed that IT teachers would benefit from support offered by business as well, with Joanna Poplawska, executive director at The Corporate IT Forum claiming that there is a huge place for companies to mentor and support educators in various aspects of IT.