ME short on IT talent says expert
Dubai, October 11, 2011
The IT industry in the Middle East has matured in terms of infrastructure and solutions, but it is way short in talent that should manage this remarkable development, an international soft skills development expert said.
While emphasising on the significance of Gitex Technology Week as a platform for introducing new technologies, Mark Andrews, regional director, Middle East/North Africa/Caribbean, Edexcel, pointed out that supplying the right talent holds the key to the development of the IT industry.
Andrews said that Gitex serves as a strategic platform for industry innovation, but the real challenge is getting the Middle East ready to absorb the newly introduced solutions in the face of an alarming shortage of talent.
“It is impressive to see local and multinational companies displaying the latest corporate technologies, however the question is whether we have the right people to manage these technologies and solutions that primarily address government agencies and private sector organisations alike,” he said.
Edexcel, the leading UK-based awarding body, offers IT vocational qualifications amongst other qualifications to provide a practical, real-world approach to learning alongside a theoretical background.
These qualifications are designed both to replicate the professional working environment and provide learners with the skills, knowledge and behaviors they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive global market, a statement from the company said.
Andrews added: “All over the world, the IT industry is central to the way that the society operates on all levels. Those with the skills and creativity to master varied IT systems and to be at the cutting edge of new advances in the sector make themselves very attractive to the many employers who need their expertise.”
Edexcel is part of Pearson, one of the world's largest education services providers. It offers academic and professional qualifications and testing to thousands of schools, colleges, employers and other places of learning globally, and has over 4 million learners enrolled on its highly regarded courses in more than 85 countries.
“The Edexcel BTec in IT can give a head-start in the modern world, equipping people with the right tools to move their companies’ businesses forward,” said Andrews.
“All over the world IT professionals with the right qualifications can find employment open to them across all businesses. BTec IT students may go on to careers pertaining to IT support, IT security, website development, software design and development, programming and multimedia design,” he added.
Andrews added that in order to fight the shortage in IT, we should ensure that all the knowledge, skills and understanding to prepare IT specialists for managing IT systems are enhanced and developed and this is where Edexcel fits in.
The quest for talent in the Middle East is overwhelming and becoming a pressing concern for companies.
Local IT companies are localising their staff, either by hiring local people to fill positions that used to go to executives from Europe, or hiring expatriates already working in the region, however they are facing tough challenges in finding the people with right skills and caliber.
“With the IT boom taking place in the GCC, the industry is creating the demand for talent. At the same time, the industry cannot rely only on fresh talent that does not have real job experiences. This is where vocational education comes in with a perfect solution,” Andrews added.
“We anticipate continued demand for qualified IT people while there will always be an ongoing shortage of talent which will hinder the growth of the industry if vocational education is not taken seriously by private and government sectors in the region,” he concluded. – TradeArabia News Service