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Corporates! Bring in all-purpose filler for IT skills gap, thunders Steelie Neelie

'This is serious, people!'

Brussels' unelected digital czar warned on Monday that the European Union's competitive strength in the media and technology markets could be weakened if people fail to continue to develop the right IT skills.

Neelie Kroes said that a coalition funded by the European Commission to the tune of €1m had been created to address that perceived gap.

The commissioner said during a speech at CeBIT in Germany:

This coalition is not about reinventing the wheel It should be about building on existing success. I want people to be open in their commitments, join forces where they see the chance, and recognise we need to do things differently.

Quite simply, facing hundreds of thousands of unfilled vacancies, we cannot continue as we were; and we must all do our bit. I know it needs us all to invest resources: but the payoff will be for everyone.

Steelie Neelie reckoned there were a number of areas that needed to be fixed. She claimed some people had no idea that they could pursue jobs in the IT industry. She said tech companies needed to educate youngsters about their career options.

She went further, suggesting that the likes of Google and other "digital" outfits sink 1 per cent of their ad budgets into a joint campaign on the attractiveness of jobs with Oompah Loompahs at the Chocolate Factory.

Teacher training needs sorting out as well, apparently. It may be the case that Kroes has been looking closely at the British government - recently spotted ripping up the current IT curriculum in favour of looking to corporates to advise very closely on education policy.

On top of the €1m thrown on the pile for this Grand Coalition, Kroes said a further €3.5m would be tossed in to this spring to pay for a "pan-European awareness-raising campaign" for 2014. She ended her speech by urging private companies to come forward with pledges on how they might help fix the IT skills gap in the EU.

This is serious: it matters to our people, to our global competitiveness, to our very future. But the European Commission can't do it alone. We can only reach our goals if all of us work together.

Readers with cast iron bellies can view the full speech here. ®

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