How to close the IT skills gap: Face paint 20 actors

Downtime was contacted by a certain UK IT infrastructure company this week that wanted to share its plan to recruit 1,000 new cloud experts. Its “dramatic” campaign involved hiring 20 actors, dressed as office workers, and painting their faces blue. The actors then went off to visit some key business hotspots including The Gherkin, Bank’s Royal Exchange, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf.  


According to the company Monday morning is a time when people reflect on their current employment situation, so painting actors faces blue was a sure-fire way to grab the commuters’ attentions…..or not from the image Downtime received of the group strolling through busy Liverpool Street station showing uninterested commuters. As one of those commuters Downtime couldn’t agree more. The actors were not from the cloud industry and therefore had no idea about why a career in tech is worth considering….they just had blue, unemotional faces.


I don’t know, Downtime might be wrong – maybe one of the commuters saw the blue faces and made the connection to think “OMG, I must leave my current job and join the tech industry.” However, Downtime does love the idea of recruiting 1,000 experts into the industry, but I doubt a face painting PR campaign is the answer to kick-starting the UK economy and solving the skills crisis.

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