Microsoft Pledges to Help UK Businesses with IT Skills Training

LONDON, April 28, 1999 — Microsoft UK has launched a new initiative to help businesses in the United Kingdom address the shortage of skilled information technology (IT) workers. In a keynote speech to the Institute of Directors (IoD) Annual Convention in London, England, today, Microsoft Chairman and CEO Bill Gates said that UK businesses are being held back through a lack of IT skills. Gates pledged that the Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative will help by encouraging people to consider a career in IT.

Recent research in Europe suggests that there are as many as 510,000 unfilled jobs in the IT sector, with this number expected to grow to 1.6 million unless steps are taken to train individuals to fill these jobs. In the UK alone, analysts predict a shortage of 600,000 Internet experts by 2002, which could put the economic competitiveness of the UK at risk.

The Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative is designed to address this problem in the UK. Through its web site at www.microsoft.com/uk/skills2000 , those considering a career in IT can find out what’s involved and explore their interest in the field. There’s also advice on specialist training and links to other organizations that are part of the initiative.

Speaking at the IoD Convention, Bill Gates said: “We want people who aren’t working in IT to consider a career in IT, and the Microsoft Skills 2000 initiative can help make that happen. However, UK companies also need to help us to help people shift into IT. They need to be open to new ways of filling vacancies by providing opportunities for new entrants with limited experience and training.”

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