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Three quarters of firms believe tech skills gap could be solved by apprenticeships

Around three quarters of firms think the tech skills shortage could be solved by employing apprentices

Just under 75% of businesses believe the technology skills gap could be solved by taking on digital and technology apprentices.

Research by employer network firm Tech Partnership found 56% of apprentice employers have difficulty finding the right people to fill jobs.

Bob Clift, head of higher education at the Tech Partnership, said apprenticeships bring a variety of benefits to companies of any size.

“In the face of a national IT skills shortage, tech apprentices provide a great source of talent, as well as bringing new thinking and fresh enthusiasm into the business. For individuals, they are an excellent route into a secure and interesting tech career,” he said.

The IT industry is currently suffering from a lack of skilled workers, with the number of unfilled digital jobs in Europe forecasted to reach 756,000 by 2020. 

Firms offering apprenticeships claim they are a good way to close the skills gap in sectors such technology, and 61% claimed better access to talent was a motivator in taking on apprentices.

Of those who hire apprentices, 7% run an apprenticeship degree programme whereby apprentices gain training and qualifications at the same time as working.

Employers need more support to find talent

But despite agreement that hiring apprentices could help close the technology skills gap for organisations, half of UK employers still do not run apprenticeship schemes.

A third of employers said not having a suitable role to fit an apprentice is a barrier to offering an apprenticeship scheme, while 39% claimed the current apprenticeship frameworks do not match their business needs. Just under 40% said they “do not know where to start” in finding and supporting apprentices.

“Our survey shows that employers need more support to access much needed talent,” said Clift.

“This is why the Tech Partnership encourages employers to choose its accredited apprenticeship schemes, which are selected due to their quality, early productivity for the apprentice and support for the employer.”

Read more about IT apprenticeships

  • The chief technology officer of facilities management company Bellrock explains why apprenticeships should be used to stop potential IT workers moving to other industries.
  • Tech Partnership highlights benefits of apprentices during National Apprenticeship Week.

Only 23% of firms said they were confident they could find training to appropriately fit and run alongside their apprenticeship programme. Some 40% claimed they would be a lot more confident in finding complimentary training for their apprenticeship programme if they had access to a list of accredited providers.

To help employers introduce apprentices into the workplace, the government recently launched an apprenticeship levy. This is designed to create three million apprenticeships by 2020.

However, almost a third of employers had not heard of the levy. But of those who had, 62% claimed they would be hiring more apprentices as a result of the government’s plans.

Read more on IT technical skills