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Information Technology and Business Administration is a sector which has been going through radical change. The convergnece of technology - computers and mobile devices - and broadcast - the internet and other information services - has led to telecommunications becoming more essential for the economic, social and cultural development of society. Industries which fall under the IT sector include computer programming, computer networking activities, data processing and internet service provision, but spheres of work within these industries can include design and development, electrical and electronic engineering, financial management, marketing and PR, project management and strategy and planning.

Technology Insights predicts that the UK economy will require 500,000+ new IT and telecoms professionals over the next five years, working across all sectors of the economy.

  • The IT and Telecommunications sector provides the engine for productivity and future growth across the UK economy. IT intensive sectors represent 5% of the UK’s total economy (e-skills 2008).
  • Over half of the UK’s IT and Telecommunications professionals hold a qualification at level 4 or higher, which is nearly double that of the UK working population overall (e-skills 2008).
  • Nearly 1 in 20 people (1.5 million) employed in the UK work in IT and Telecommunications (e-skills 2008).
  • The shared attributes of entrepreneurs listed on the City & Guilds Rich List 2008 include: strong self belief, patience and perseverance, capacity for hard work and the ability to bounce back after failure.
  • Every organisation needs effective administration. Over 4,933,000 people are employed in administration, business and office work, and this figure is predicted to rise (Connexions 2008).

Careers in the IT and business sector

There are a range of different jobs available in this sector, from system administrator to developer, software engineer to systems analyst, and technical support engineer to data security coordinator. The Welsh Government recognises that widespread access to affordable, secure telecommunications is important to businesses and citizens across Wales, and is helping deliver digital skills for everyone, improved online public services, faster infrastructure and enhanced mobile coverage.

Courses are offered through colleges and other providers, aimed at improving skills in the following areas:

  • Accounting Technician
  • Apprentice Business Challenge
  • Cisco Network Technician
  • IT Network Security
  • Microsoft Applications Specialist
  • Microsoft IT Technician
  • Microsoft Network Administrator
Training and opportunities are also provided by organisations such as the Chartered Institute for IT, e-skills UK - The Sector Skills Council for Business and Information Technology - and the National Skills Academy.

Working in this sector can lead to being a part of a team of professionals creating who are helping to shape the digital environment for future generations.

For further information on careers in information technology and business administration, and to search for current apprenticeship or Jobs Growth Wales opportunities, visit Careers Wales.

"The UK is highly dependent on its IT & Telecoms workforce – it underpins the economy and is integral to information, business and consumer services, health and leisure and modern day social networking."
- e-Skills, 2011

Competing in the sector

Competitors face a series of practical challenges that test their skills at regional heats throughout Wales. The highest scorers are put forward to compete in the Welsh national final, with successful competitors going through to the UK national competition held at the NEC in Birmingham.

Among 2012's winners were Robert Hughes, an apprentice with Saltney-based Information Technology specialists Solex Systems, and his colleague Josh O'Brien. Robert won the North Wales award with Josh placing second, and both competed in the UK National final, where Robert was named the Microsoft IT World Skills Apprentice of the Year.

Competing in the Information Technology and business administration sector competitions benefits students, learning providers and employers. Students are given a common, worthwhile goal that takes them beyond the normal expectation of education and training programmes, as well as being able to experience the excitement of competing. For the trainer or tutor there’s professional pride and evidence of continuing professional development, and employers benefit through maintaining a highly skilled workforce who take pride in the job and the company.

"Robert and Josh should both be extremely proud of their success in this regional final. Taking part in such competitions allows our students not only to develop their skills but also allows them to showcase their talents and ability."
- David Jones, Deeside College

World Class Skills on Display
WorldSkills Calgary, 2009

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Skills competitions test who has the ability to be a champion. And for those who’ve got what it takes, career stardom awaits..