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Experts Call For Enhanced Data Centre Education

27 January, 2015

Data centre lessonExperts maintain that despite the recent launch of the new computer curriculum the UK is still facing a data centre skills crisis. In fact according to leading information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, analysts predict that the talent shortfall crisis will negatively impact 80% of data centre companies by next year.

Since September 2014 British schools have been teaching programming and coding skills to children as young as five. This is part of the overall plan to replace the existing Information and Communications Technology (ICT) curriculum with up-to-the-minute lessons in computer science. 

Yet Alex Rabbetts, CEO of MigSolv, one of the UK’s major data centre build suppliers claims that the UK government is not doing enough to foster the creation of a new talent pool with the capacity to manage the next generation infrastructure that drives the British economy. He argues that the curriculum reforms need to be taken even further in order to address what he describes as a "massive shortfall" in employees capable of meeting the needs of data centre recruitment criteria.

Rabbetts explains, "You have got nobody coming up through the ranks because there are very few schools teaching about data centre environments and the infrastructure, since it is not on the curriculum. All the curriculum is saying is that can you write some code.”

One of the major factors hindering the creation of students with advanced data centre skills is a lack of understanding on the government’s part. "If you look at the government, they have not got a clue what a data centre is, and they don’t understand that if you switch the data centre off, you switch the country off," adds Rabbetts.

While some attempts have been made by independent bodies to offer students external programmes Rabbetts asserts that the solution lies solely with incorporating data centre training into the primary, secondary and tertiary education systems. "We need to be talking about the infrastructure at an educational level. We need to be actually training people and running proper apprenticeship schemes where people can learn about the infrastructure and learn about what their ultimate role is going to be. Without this commitment he claims that the economic consequences will be disastrous. “Because when [the current generation of data centre managers] retire from this business, there aren't the people behind us who are going to be able to take over straight away, and that is a real problem," he explains.

Data centres are the undisputed technology of the future and as Rabbetts says, it is essential for the UK government to support the creation of skilled employees with a thorough understanding of how to manage and operate the sophisticated infrastructure. Without a diverse and competent talent pool the UK risks its position as a global leader in a range of critical sectors. 

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