As we continue to face an ever-growing digital skills gap, we have to question which solutions are readily available: are degree apprenticeships the answer?
There has never been a more exciting time to work in the digital tech industry. Technology crosses every sector and pretty much every job. However, there’s a ‘but’. The pandemic has exacerbated the development of tech innovation and the need for digital skills is growing exponentially – and now, there are not enough people to do the jobs our economy needs to keep up with demand. techUK estimate over 100,000 tech jobs are advertised monthly in the UK and 70% of businesses believe they have a digital skills gap.
The industry needs a strategy and fast
Urgent action is needed to address this challenge if we wish to keep growing our economy and keep innovating, but the question is: how?
This is where digital apprenticeships come in. Education and training sit at the heart of the skills development of younger generations – from schools to sixth form and further education. Digital apprenticeships can be the answer to a challenge that is affecting everyone, from businesses to parents and students.
While employers commit to train and nurture their apprentices for the length of the course, apprentices can benefit from a learn while they earn model, gaining access to technical and professional skills whilst building up their knowledge and avoiding university fees.
People of all ages on degree apprenticeships have a high chance of being made permanent and are job-ready to take on new opportunities outside of their original placement, filling the digital skills gap the economy is experiencing.
Apprenticeships also support the Government’s Levelling Up agenda with 40% on a degree apprenticeship being the first in their families to go to university. Students with a degree apprenticeship background also earn on average £39,000 a year 18 months after graduating, a £2,000 increase from the average UK computing graduate from the top five computing courses in the UK.1
Increasing visibility of apprenticeships
However, there is currently a lack of degree apprenticeships available to people of all ages. UCAS predicts 65,000 under 19s will be in a degree apprenticeship by 2027. This digital skills gap will only be met by bringing Government, industry and education together collaboratively.
Only if we change the mentality around degree apprenticeships to meet the demand and increase their visibility will we be able to close the digital skills gap and keep innovating to build a better future for society, its people, the economy and the planet.
 Manchester Met University 2022