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TechUK paper urges industry to collaborate in closing the IT skills gap

TechUK paper puts forward recommendations to government and industry on closer collaboration to close the IT skills shortfall

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Technical skills

TechUK has launched a paper warning the IT industry of a fragmented approach to trying to solve the skills gap.

The paper, called We’re just not doing enough - Working together to meet the digital skills challenge, calls on industry to collaborate in mapping the digital skills pipeline and offers 11 recommendations.

One recommendation is for the Government’s Digital Economy Unit to map the likely impact that initiatives such as Tech Partnership and the National College for Digital Skills, will have on candidates entering the workforce to 2020 and beyond.

Expressing concerns that teachers lack the skills and resources needed to teach the recently introduced computing curriculum, the paper recommends the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) collaborate on assessing the successes and challenges of implementing the curriculum and the impact it has made on the UK’s talent pipeline.

Charlotte Holloway, head of policy at techUK said: “Digital technologies will be at the heart of growth and jobs creation in the next five years. To realise the potential of technology in the UK we must work together with government to overcome the skills gap which threatens to stunt growth in the tech industry and beyond.

“With recent estimates suggesting the UK is already losing a potential £2bn per year from unfilled roles requiring digital skills, the scale of the gap over the next decade cannot be underestimated. We must accelerate efforts to secure the UK’s position as a world leading digital economy.”

Focusing on areas of skills shortage

Last year the government began to extend its support to apprentices offering to double the number of available apprenticeships, introducing degree-level apprenticeships and extending grants for employers taking on apprentices. In line with the government’s plans, the paper recommends closer dialogue between industry and government, to ensure young people are trained for future jobs.

Holloway added: “At present, skills initiatives risk fragmentation, resulting in gaps and overlap. By mapping the likely impact digital skills initiatives, we can look seriously at ‘what works’ for industry needs in a world-leading digital economy. Government and wider players can then use those insights to demonstrate where more may still need to be done, whether that be to boost the computing curriculum or where a ‘smart immigration’ approach is needed to address the most pronounced shortages.”

Read more about TechUK

“If we don’t measure and build on success, there is a risk these welcome efforts are going to waste.”

Andy Griffiths, president Samsung UK and Ireland, said: “Samsung was delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to this report, which sets out clear recommendation to both government and industry on how we can work together to address the digital skills gap in the UK. This is becoming increasingly important as our world becomes ever more connected, with future careers, either directly in the growing technology centre or outside it, increasingly requiring digital skills.

“At Samsung, we want to inspire learning and innovation. We recognise that the delivery of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects is hugely important for the UK’s future and we want to encourage young people to combine technical knowledge and skills with the creativity and confidence that leads to the most innovative and successful ideas. 

"We believe this will give our young people the skills they need to thrive in the modern world.”

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