Director of the Institute of Coding
The world has changed significantly in 2020. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter the landscape of work and education, a large number of people are experiencing disruption in their careers. These people will need support to ensure they are able to gain and/or retain high quality employment.
In an age where technology is at the heart of most businesses, and is fundamental to the UK’s economic growth, digital skills have become more important than ever. Demand for talent within the digital-technology sector has already grown by 150% over the past four years. This number will continue to increase as we move into a ‘new normal’, where the tech sector is expected to power our economic recovery.
Flexible education-delivery is more inclusive
It is key that we make higher education accessible to a broader range of people, wherever they are in their lives or career paths. Higher education can be a primary pathway to creating a more diverse workforce and is essential to developing well-trained specialists in sought-after areas like cyber security and artificial intelligence. However, existing educational offerings can be inaccessible for some, whether that’s down to time constraints, household obligations or other reasons that keep them from accessing a full university education.
It is clear that, as the UK’s economy turns to the tech sector for recovery, people will need to equip themselves with digital skills.
To address this, the Institute of Coding (IoC) have worked with partners to develop new short courses, many of which are free and online, so that more people can find an education pathway to fit their interests and needs. This forms an important part of our collective commitment to creating opportunities for lifelong learning of digital skills and lasting diversity in the digital sector.
Making it easier to acquire digital skills
One example of this flexible delivery is our new set of online courses that have been designed by the University of Leeds, the University of the Arts London and Lancaster University, which are hosted on FutureLearn.com. Amongst others, the Digital Skills for the Workplace and Essential Creative Technologies courses have been built for individuals, at various points in their careers, who are looking to improve their digital skills and enhance their employability. These courses have a particular focus on digital skills that are essential for the world of work, like creating digital content and collaborative working in a remote team, as well as more technical areas such as introductory AI, coding, and UX design. Many of the courses are free to take for the remainder of 2020.
Closing the digital skills gap for the future
It is clear that, as the UK’s economy turns to the tech sector for recovery, people will need to equip themselves with digital skills. However, the national digital skills gap still requires a fundamental structural change that aligns employers and educators more closely together, while helping individuals navigate the landscape of digital education.