A National Skills Academyfor IT will be launched in late 2010, with the backing of a \u00a37.9 million government grant.\nThe academy is being developed by sector skills council e-skills, alongside a number of businesses including British Airways, BT, Sainsbury\u2019s, EDS, IBM, Accenture, Oracle and Whitbread. The government grant will be supplied over three years.\nThe aim of the academy is to help the more than one million IT professionals in the UK to have opportunities to develop their skills. Its business plan has been approved by the Cabinet Office, and development will begin next month.\nIt will provide IT professionals with access to industry courses and qualifications that cover technical, business and communications skills. It also aims to make it easier for employers and IT professionals to find each other, and for professionals to find qualifications that are well-recognised by industry.\nSkills minister Kevin Brennansaid professionals needed high-level IT skills, and those skills were also \u201cessential to the future of Digital Britain\u201d and to boosting the country\u2019s competitiveness.\nLaunching the academy was a \u201cunique opportunity for employers to take collective responsibility for the skills and accreditation of the IT workforce\u201d, according to Karen Price, chief executive at e-skills.\nPaul Coby, chief information officer at British Airways, said that \u201cthe skills of our IT professionals are crucially important\u201d to the company, with \u201calmost everything\u201d supported and enabled \u201cin some way\u201d by technology. Developing a skilled workforce was \u201ccrucially important\u201d, he said.