§ Mr. Park
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if any conclusions have been reached by the group consisting of Ministers most closely concerned, senior industrialists and representatives from the education world regarding the particular needs brought about by new technology; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butcher
The final report of the Information Technology (IT) Skills Shortages Committee which I chaired was published in July 1985. Copies of this and the committee's two previous reports are available in the Libraries of both Houses. The committee made a number of recommendations for action by industry, professional institutions and trade associations, and the education system. Chief among these was the call for a new partnership between industry and education to help meet the growing demand for skilled IT manpower.
Following the report the Government announced a £43 million programme to provide some 5,000 extra engineering and technology places in higher education by the end of the decade. Industry has responded for its part by setting up the IT skills agency under the aegis of the CBI education foundation, and by a major increase in its financial support for IT-related courses in higher education.