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Bizarre approaches to solving the IT skills shortage are fast becoming a stock-in-trade for hardware and services giant ICL. The one-time colossus of the UK IT industry -- now owned by Fujitsu -- plans to recruit 25 ex-army officers to take charge of its consultancy business. ICL's wacky personnel policies first came to light last January when the company revealed it was hoping to recruit convicted criminals to train as Year 2000 bug busters. The plans for the lags' army came to nothing but the talks between ICL and the prison service managed to raise eyebrows everywhere. This latest drive from ICL could replace the image of laid-back and introverted programmers with a new cry of "stand by your desks, you 'orrible lot" ringing out across the nation's IT departments. An ICL representative is reported as saying that former officers of the armed forces make ideal project leaders -- here's hoping none of General Custer's descendants end up running any ICL projects. ®

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