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Dell: More needs to be done to solve IT skills challenge

Vendor reveals research looking into attitudes of Generation Z towards improving levels of digital skills

Dell has lifted the lid on the desire by the younger generation to develop their digital skills, with many feeling that current support does not go far enough.

The vendor’s Future-Proof research quizzed those in Generation Z to gauge their views about skills, with it clear that many felt they left education without the required knowledge around digital technology.

The findings showed that more than half (52%) of UK respondents said school only taught very basic computing skills and 10% exited education without having had any technology or digital skills learning. That left many concluding that they were unprepared for a working life that would involve working with IT.

Skills have become a major challenge for the channel, with many coming under greater pressure from customers to plug gaps because of vacancies. As a result, apprentice schemes and graduate programmes have emerged in recent years to try to establish a pipeline of talent to join the channel.

Richard Rawcliffe, vice-president and general manager for UK public sector at Dell Technologies, said technology underpinned the economy going forward and Gen Z understood the importance of being able to participate in that development.

Some of the solutions suggested in the Dell research include extending teaching to more pupils and making digital skills mandatory across more of the school curriculum. There were also calls for the government to establish a long-term strategy to get on top of the problem.

There was also a recognition among Gen Zers that devices and connectivity had to be more evenly distributed to reduce the impact of a digital divide. Many also accepted the importance of security to ensure the UK remained competitive and protected against attacks.

“It’s clear that Gen Z sees technology as pivotal for their future prosperity. However, there is still a digital poverty gap in parts of our society, as well as a digital skills gap, so more can be done to set them up for success through improvements in the quality and access to digital learning for all,” said Rawcliffe.

“It will require constant collaboration between businesses and schools to keep pace as technology evolves and bridge this digital skills gap. What’s up for grabs is a flourishing society and economy that includes everyone. We’re excited to continue working with our partners in the public and private sectors to make this a reality,” he added.

Rawcliffe said it was important the next generation felt that they were being given a chance to participate and steer the development of a digitally driven society.

“Gen Z is the group that will be most impacted by public and private investment decisions taken today as the future workforce that will facilitate and maintain long-term, sustainable recovery. Gen Z comprises digital natives passionate about social issues such as sustainability. There is an opportunity to earn the support of Gen Z for longer-term strategies that put digital transformation and sustainability at the core of economic growth strategies,” he said.

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