Bid to beat IT shortage
But research by e-skills UK, the employer-led body responsible for IT skills development, shows that Scotland is slightly better off than the rest of the UK.
In a survey of 294 Scottish employers, "an enviably low proportion" reported skills gaps in their IT workforce - 3 per cent against 9 per cent in Britain as a whole. Scotland also has a smaller proportion of companies with IT vacancies - 13 per cent compared with 17 per cent.
But growth of the IT industry in Scotland over the next decade is set to run at between 18 per cent and 26 per cent. This will require at least 10,000 people to enter the industry every year for the next 10 years - yet only 553 new graduates did so in 2002.
The new drive is directed not just at the 79,000 people who work as IT professionals, but the estimated 285,000 business managers who are said to need a greater understanding of its potential.
Colleges will be expected to play a major part since they actually award more Standard grade, Intermediate and Higher or Advanced Higher qualifications in IT than secondary schools.