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New generation need infrastructure to maximise latest IT skills; 22 AGENDA & LETTERS.

Dear Editor, The debate surrounding this year's exam results, and shortage of university places, risks missing a fundamental truth about a new generation of workers in the West Midlands. Whether they are preparing for university or the workplace, these young people are the first 'digital natives', and will have much more advanced expectations of the role that technology can play in work and education.

For this generation VoIP, video-conferencing and instant messaging are not novelties but necessities. And whereas in previous years young people might have socialised around the water cooler or in the common room, now they might well prefer Twitter or Facebook.

Getting best value out of these people will therefore involve adapting the productivity and management tools that employers use, accommodating greater demand for flexible working with increased use of tele-conferencing and presence indicators.

At a technological level it will require organisations to invest in the infrastructure and bandwidth that will allow the first generation of digital natives to perform. And it will mean striking a balance between accommodating new technology and educating young people on what is an acceptable way of using new communications technology over a corporate or university network.

Integrating 'digital natives' into the age-old frameworks of the university and the workplace will not be without its challenges, but with the right educative policies and adequate infrastructure everything is achievable.

PAUL LAWRENCE, head of business markets for ntl:Telewest Business in the West Midlands
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 8, 2009
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