A colleague interviewed John Harris, chairman of IT user group The Corporate IT Forum and chief architect and vice president of global IT strategy at GlaxoSmithKline, recently and got his views of the UK skills shortage.
He, like many others, is of the opinion that years of outsourcing commodity IT skills is contributing to a lack of grass-roots IT talent today, because the talent pipeline is not being fed at the bottom end.
"While outsourcing did bring value, people moved jobs that should not have been moved. We outsourced our skills pipeline," he said. Young people were not being given a chance to come into the industry.
"Yes, it may be more economical to outsource to India, but such a job may be the type of work that gives an apprentice a real grounding [in IT]," he said.
There has been loads in the press lately about the IT skills gap and genuine attempts to address the shortage of IT students that are capable of breaking into the corporate IT sector.
Outsourcing service providers themselves are getting involved in a Ministry of Justice and Business in the Community backed the project which aims to help students further their careers in IT. Nine of the biggest UK IT service providers have agreed to a charter for employing IT apprentices. These are Accenture, Atos, Capgemini, CSC, Fujitsu, HP, Logica, Siemens and Steria have all signed up to the charter.
Azim Premji, chairman at Indian IT outsourcing firm, has even offered to take UK students to India for 12 months to be trained up in software, IT and engineering.