The Welsh Government is investing more than £1.4 million in skills programmes to address the current and future skills demands of the ICT sector in Wales.

Working with the Department for the Economy, Science and Transport and the Department for Education and Skills, it is funding two pilot programmes that aim to provide up to 550 people with the ICT skills required by Welsh employers.

According to the Technology Insights Wales 2012 report, 3,100 new IT recruits are required each year in Wales just to meet existing demand. Furthermore, it is estimated that the ICT sector in Wales will grow at double the Welsh employment average between now and 2020.

The first programme, Pathways to Digital Employment, aims to upskill and retrain up to 300 unemployed people, which includes recent graduates and military leavers.

The second, Pathways to Digital Growth, which is supported by the European Social Fund, will develop a further 250 employed IT professionals to a certified standard that better meets their job and employers' needs.

Economy minister Edwina Hart, said: "It is essential that businesses in Wales have access to a talent pool with the right ICT skills to meet the current and future technological demands that will be placed upon them. ICT is one of our key economic priority sectors for enabling growth and job creation.

"These programmes are designed to address this and Pathways to Digital Employment in particular has the potential to create new high quality employment prospects for people who are currently economically inactive, while also supporting businesses in Wales.

Employers, such as software consultancy Box UK, have been involved with designing the schemes.

"Being able to play an integral part in shaping the requirements for these programmes is of crucial importance to a high performance employer such as ourselves," said Stuart Arthur, head of operations and delivery at Box UK.

"Ensuring continued collaboration between industry and government brings us closer to our shared goal of bettering skills development in Wales in order to create a thriving talent pool capable of bridging the global IT skills shortage."

The schemes will launch on 1 October, and will be managed and delivered by sector skills council e-skills UK.