I promised myself I would use the B–word a bit less in this blog

I hate the B-word and won’t mention it in this blog post. I have done too many blogs about the B-word recently.

It was hard not to say the B-word when I wrote this. See if you can read it without thinking about the hideous portmanteau that is the B-word.

Here we go:

The world is being transformed through digital technology and IT skills will be at the centre of societies and their economies in the years ahead.

Imagine if a country fails to educate and train its population to become the IT experts of tomorrow. Imagine if a country restricted to entry of IT experts from other countries and pushed those already here away.

A recipe for disaster.

That is why I was shocked by the latest data from the Education and Skills Funding Agency that suggested the number of people starting ICT apprenticeships in 2016/17 dropped by 6.3% in comparison to 2015/16. This meant a drop to 15,010 in 2016/17 from 16,020 the year before.

The reason I am shocked is due to the positive feeling I got when I interviewed youngsters either currently on apprenticeships or having recently finished them. I have met some of our future tech leaders and was very impressed by many of them.

The most recent set of interviews I did was with the first female degree apprentices in Capgemini’s degree apprentice programme. Like with all the interviews I have done with IT apprentices I was very impressed.

Have a read of some more interviews I did.

Back in June last year I interviewed member of an apprentice scheme being run by IT firm Voyager Solutions, which suppliers automation services.

In 2016 I spoke to the first group of IT graduates emerging from Accenture’s apprenticeship scheme in north-east England.

Also in 2016 members of the apprentice scheme at UK IT services firm MCSA told me why university was not the natural progression for them.

Why are apprentices so important? The average worker in the digital age will probably need a better understanding of IT than the average worker today has. At the same time the people that build the IT for businesses will need to better understand the business. Perfect storm for IT apprenticeships. So why are they falling?

I leave you with this quote from a company in the IT sector. “The UK has suffered from a chronic underproduction of tech skills, which has made it increasingly reliant on foreign talent to plug skills gaps.” I could not use the full quote because it went on to use words that alluded to the B-word.

I did it but did you think of the B-word?

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