A new report has recommended that councils take on IT apprentices to fight the gap created by talent being drawn away into the private sector.
ICT membership body Socitm claims that the better pay provided by private companies is creating problems for the public sector.
The organisation recognises that while some local authorities have set up apprenticeship schemes, they could be better used to deliver significant future benefits with a low risk factor.
Its report noted that, “apprenticeships can deliver talented personnel with appropriate knowledge and skills.”
It also claimed that most local government organisations do not have an ICT workforce planning agenda, but this is where adopting an apprenticeship programme would sit.
Only a small percentage – 15% - said that this planning was “developed” or “highly developed” in their organisation.
Despite this, Socitm says that the 2009-launched National Apprenticeship Service could mitigate the effects of staff leaving for the private sector.
The finance sector is already creating fierce competition, according to public sector bodies in the south east of England.
While studying part-time for a relevant qualification up to a HND or Foundation degree, an apprentice is able to spend time in the workplace gaining job-specific skills.
“Benefits of these ‘home-grown’ candidates include having skills that match organisational needs, a good understanding of the prevailing culture and knowledge of informal networks that help get things done efficiently and effectively,” claimed Socitm.
The group also said it is important for the apprentice to have a real purpose within the organisation, a specific role with real responsibilities.
However, this “real job” must not impede on the candidate’s study.