On the IT dole

Gordon Brown, the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, recently announced plans for the British government to train the “long-term unemployed” to fill a growing list of vacancies in Britain’s technology sector. According to Brown, 5,000 technician jobs will be set aside for unemployed people who successfully complete a training course. Companies like IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. have agreed to provide the jobs in return for the government footing the bill for the training.

The three-year pilot project, called Ambition IT, will cost the government about US$70 million. The plan calls for trainees to receive technician jobs with salaries between US$21,000 and US$28,000. Of course, if the economy keeps going the way it is, trained IT professionals could be trading places with them.