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Opening a path into a tech career for anyone

The technology sector needs new talent and must get better at appealing to people at all stages of their life and career

At TechUK, we understand that if the tech sector is going to prosper and create people-first innovations, it needs to reflect the society it serves. That means ensuring that opportunities are available to everyone and that the creators are as diverse as the market.

To that end, TechUK has launched its new pathway tool, Your journey into tech, aiming to help individuals who are curious about technology understand what their route into a tech career could look like.

The tool is designed to open up the possibilities of a tech career for all. Whether you are student picking your A-levels, recently graduated with a degree in English literature and excited about a role in tech, or someone who wants to completely change career track, this tool can help individuals understand their options better.

London Tech Week once again highlighted the enormous growth the sector is seeing, creating jobs not just in London but across the UK – revitalising cities and regions and breathing fresh life into more established sectors.

In fact, new research published by Tech Nation revealed that 2.1 million people are now employed in the UK’s digital tech sector, and in five UK cities – Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, Belfast and Newcastle – over 10% of the population are employed in digital tech. This number is set to soar over the coming years.

To date, industry has not done enough to go out and grab the talent it needs from wherever it resides. As a high-growth sector, we have all too often relied on people coming to us. This cannot continue. With a digital skills gap costing the economy an estimated £63bn a year in lost GDP, it is absolutely vital that companies and we, as the tech trade association, go out and make the case to the potential talent pool.

The truth is there are already so many routes into tech and they are growing all the time, for example with the introduction of T-levels. TechUK’s own Returners Hub, which provides a directory of our member companies that run dedicated returners programmes for those rejoining the workforce after a career break, is testament to the good work that already goes on.

However, it is a fragmented landscape and requires individuals to persevere just to figure out if there is a path into tech that suits them. We need to make it much easier for people to realise the opportunities the tech sector has to offer and help them towards their destination – a career in tech.

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The Your journey into tech tool does just that. It clearly lays out the options depending on your stage of life and provides handy guidance for parents and carers who want to give their children good, well-researched advice.

Underpinning all of this are real-life case studies of people who have taken that journey themselves to demonstrate that it is possible regardless of where you start from. For example, our own Jake Wall, who joined TechUK in March 2019, writes passionately about how, after dropping out of secondary school as a teenager, the Open University offered him a route back into education, eventually culminating in a job at TechUK. Stories like this serve to inspire and encourage more people into our sector.

TechUK is committed to creating a truly inclusive sector that offers opportunity for all. We hope the tool will grow as content is added to it by our members and even more routes and pathways into tech are created. The opportunity is there to be grasped, but it is our responsibility to make the case.

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