INFORMATION & COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGY – ICT
EUROPE NEEDS SKILLED ICT PEOPLE >> Top
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of the most dynamic sectors of the EU economy. ICT developments are driving and enabling fundamental changes across all areas of business, services, domestic, and leisure activities.
The Internet and World Wide Web (WWW) provide undreamed access to knowledge, information and entertainment services. E-business and e-commerce are enabling new ways of doing business and reducing costs. Mobile telecommunications, digital television and new consumer electronic devices are integrating with the WWW. Behind the scenes bigger and faster computers manage, process, analyse, interpret and present all this information; faster and faster networks move data, music, and pictures from city to city from business to consumer. ICT technologies have become truly pervasive. How can we keep up to date with all this technological change?
How can we make best use of all the products and services on offer? How do we stay ahead and ensure we are developing the next generation of business solutions and consumer products?
The answer is by ensuring we have people fluent in the language of the digital age; people who are expert in communicating with businesses, professionals and customers; people who are comfortable with technology yet able to understand others needs and be their guide and counsel. In addition to this, we need people who are creative in the use of the growing number of technologies and tools. Does Europe have enough skilled ICT people? No, and the gap is widening.
ABOUT CAREER SPACE >> Top
With the support of the European Commission, a consortium of nine major ICT companies, (BT, Cisco Systems, IBM Europe, Intel, Microsoft Europe, Nokia, Philips Semiconductors, Siemens AG, Thales), and EICTA, the European Information, Communications and Consumer Electronics Industry Technology Association, has been exploring new ways of addressing this skills shortage. A project was set up, co-ordinated by International Co-operation Europe Ltd., to put in place a clear framework for students, education institutions and governments that describes the roles, skills and competencies required by the ICT industry in Europe.
The first step was to develop generic skills profiles relevant to key jobs in ICT and to create a dedicated website (www.career-space.com) and use other communication tools to make this information widely available. The generic skills profiles presented on this website cover the main job areas for which the ICT industry is experiencing skills shortages. These core profiles describe the jobs, setting out the vision, role and lifestyle associated with them. The specific technology areas and tasks associated with each job are also outlined, as well as the level of behavioural and technical skills required to carry out the profiled jobs.
The second step was to work with over twenty universities and educational institutions across Europe to develop new ICT curriculum guidelines. These guidelines, which can be seen on our website, are intended to assist the design of courses to match the skills profiles and needs of Europe’s ICT industry and eEurope.
THE GENERIC SKILLS PROFILES >> Top
The ICT industry in Europe is at a forefront of technology. We need many different types of people to help us including:
Technical People who can do the things which need to be done
Project Managers who make sure we do things as and when intended
Consultants to help clients decide how to best use our products and services
Salesmen to help people understand what ICT can do and what they should buy
Educators to teach people about ICT
Business Managers to direct our businesses
Entrepreneurs to start new businesses
Development engineers who create new functions and services
We need people with one or more of the following attributes:
Creative and artistic
Excited by new technology and its uses
Have a liking for science and mathematics
Possess good communications skills
Like dealing with people
Would like to work as part of a team
Many generic job profiles have been developed to-date in the following areas:
Radio Frequency (RF) Engineering
Data Communications Engineering
Digital Signal Processing Applications Design
Communications Network Design
Software & Services
Software & Applications Development
Software Architecture and Design
IT Business Consultancy
Products & Systems
Integration & Test / Implementation & Test Engineering
ICT Marketing Management
ICT Project Management
Research and Technology Development
ICT Sales Management
The profiles provide a comprehensive description of:
the types of jobs in the industry
the tasks and technologies associated with each job type
the skills and competencies required
the career opportunities available
CURRICULUM DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES NEW ICT CURRICULA FOR THE 21ST CENTURY >> Top
In co-operation with over twenty universities and technical institutions across Europe, the Career Space consortium has developed new Curriculum Development Guidelines to equip future ICT graduates for life in the Information Age. This work has been actively supported by CEN/ISSS (European standardisation body for the information society), EUREL (Convention of National Societies of Electrical Engineers of Europe) and e-skills NTO (UK national training organisation for ICT).
The resulting Guidelines align with the job profiles and build on existing good curricula, together with information and suggestions from the companies and associations. They provide a basis for universities and technical institutions to review and revise relevant courses.
The Guidelines outline the development of the ICT industry, and the history of ICT curricula in universities. The need for significant change is described, given the rapid development of technology in this fast-moving area and the changing nature of jobs in the industry. Recommendations are given for the content areas of new ICT curricula covering the wide variety of skills required.
It is not the intention of the Career Space consortium to be rigid in these guidelines: there is a considerable spectrum of job opportunities and skill requirements, and universities may wish to specialise in particular areas. However substantial changes to curricula are considered necessary if new graduates are to be well prepared for the challenges they will encounter working in ICT.
WWW.CAREER-SPACE.COM >> Top
We have established this dedicated website: to provide you with more information about the ICT industry and our skills requirements.
This website is up-dated on a regular basis to provide you with information about our skills requirements, career opportunities and latest developments in the industry.
Please take the time to view the website and mention it to your friends and colleagues.
THE FUTURE IS CERTAIN >> Top
The past few years have seen dot.coms fall and market reversals for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) companies. Does this mean that the ICT skills gap has closed? The Career Space consortium says no!
Why is this? There are several reasons. One is that while there have been thousands of redundancies in ICT companies, few companies have laid off large numbers of skilled ICT people. Employees affected in these companies have had mainly support roles. Another reason is that due to the inherent dynamics of this industry, demand is fluctuating. Another is the cross sector use and need for ICT skills. From banking to leisure, retail to travel and government to charity all sectors now use ICT. Many need more people now simply to make full use of the equipment they already have, let alone what is on the leading edge horizon. Moreover, a majority expects Internet spending to pick up in the next couple of years, which will fuel further ICT skills demand. So demand is still there.
On the other hand the skills supply is falling. The number of young people is steadily declining right across the EU, due to reduced birth rates, and with increasing retirement rates, there will simply be fewer people available for work. Recognising this, several EU countries have relaxed job permit rules to allow in skilled ICT workers from outside the EU, and thousands have already arrived.
Finally, the skills gap is not just about the quantity of skilled people needed, but their quality. Current and future roles in ICT require not just good technical and creative skills across converging technologies, but the commercial and interpersonal abilities to match services and products to customers’ needs and to help customers and society understand and make the most of the Information Revolution. Providing the right style and content for a service is as important as the technology driving it. Many of the new roles in ICT call on the softer, artistic and people skills typically associated with females – yet barely a fifth of skilled ICT workers are women. Attracting a more balanced ICT workforce is not just key to solving the ICT Skills gap but to delivering the informed, integrated society that the ‘eEurope’ initiative aspires to.
eEUROPE – AN INFORMATION SOCIETY FOR ALL >> Top
The Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March, 2000 set the European Union a major strategic goal
“ to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion”.
The Council recognised the widening skills gap, especially in information technology where increasing numbers of jobs remain unfilled and at the same time acknowledged that “every citizen must be equipped with the skills needed to live and work in this new information society”.
The Career Space consortium, described by the European IT Observatory’s 2001 report as “the most important example of co-operation between the ICT companies and the European Commission” is willing to play its part in achieving this strategic goal.