There is no argument that the UK faces a digital skills gap. The pandemic has accelerated digital in a way we could not have imagined two years ago.
Pretty much everything that can exist in the online world now does – from essential services to everyday communication. As we edge our way to a ‘new normal’, what will this look and feel like? Digital innovation will continue to drive the change and we now need more digital relevant skills than ever before.
But here’s the conundrum. The UK was facing a lack of digital talent even before COVID-19 and the pipeline of talent has not suddenly blossomed. While there are some clear indicators that young people are beginning to understand this need, many still think, “tech is for nerds” and older generations continue to believe, “there’s no way I can do that technical stuff.”
Changing perceptions around digital skills
But that is not what digital skills are about. As techUK President Jacqueline de Rojas says, you don’t need to be a deep technologist to gain digital skills. What we need to do is excite young and old alike about the digital future and help the career changers bring their experiences to the world of tech, adding value across the economy and society.
So, we face two acute challenges: how to show people from all walks of life that they could enjoy and succeed in a tech career, and how to provide ready access to high-quality education and training that leads directly to jobs.
Digital innovation will continue to drive the change and we now need more digital relevant skills than ever before.
Collaboration is urgently needed
No organisation can solve this on their own. Rather, a new level of collaboration between employers, educators and policymakers is essential to create the long-term talent pipeline we need.
Alongside this, we need more people to take up relevant training and education. However, digital skills training is a complex matter. The market is huge
Our focus must be programmes that reflect the modern workplace and create highly skilled individuals who are job-ready.
Signposting and industry accreditation
Signposting is crucial and industry accreditation is an essential part of this. TechSkills has made this challenge its core mission and is enabling this through Tech Industry Gold accreditation and digital credentials, created in partnership with leading employers. Tech Industry Gold programmes deliver the blend of technical expertise and employability skills needed to work effectively in tech roles – whether at degree level or through specialised training programmes – digital credentials provide online proof to employers of an individual’s job-ready skills.
We are embarking on a new journey toward the inclusive, skilled and job-ready workforce, society depends on. As a collaborative industry body, TechSkills believes in building partnerships, creating pathways to employment and realising the potential of people from all walks of life. The time to act is now; our digital futures depend on it.