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How can we reverse the digital skills gap?

Woman at a computer

There’s been much debate in recent years about the growing digital skills gap and the negative impact is having on business – particularly the ability to innovate and grow.

Part of the dialogue focuses on the automation of current jobs – as according to the Select Committee Report on digital skills, economists estimate that 35% of current jobs in the UK could become automated over the next two decades.[1]

Some of the focus is on how we are already feeling the effects in the workplace, highlighting cyber security systems, mobile computing, cloud computing and data analytics as the most in-demand skill areas we’re currently facing.

And there’s even been some speculation on future skills needs – as according to the World Economic Forum, it’s estimated that 65% of children entering primary school today will likely work in roles in the future that don’t currently exist now.[2]

Shifting skills needs

Whatever your own views are on the seriousness of these impacts and implications, it’s difficult to ignore the changes that are happening in the world around us. Whether we’re working in healthcare, financial services or consumer goods, skills needs are shifting and jobs are evolving in response to advancing technology and the new opportunities it presents.

Organisations are responding by incorporating new technology as part of their business strategy and as a result, more and more technical specialists are entering the workforce. However, roles that require high-level skills are becoming notoriously difficult to fill, as supply isn’t keeping up with demand.

According to the latest UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) Employer Skills Survey, there was a 43% increase in hard-to-fill vacancies between 2013 and 2015, as it has been difficult to find applicants with the right skills.[3]

Considering that UKCES has also projected that there will be 2 million new jobs between now and 2020 that will demand ‘higher-level’ skills than in the past, it’s safe to assume that these recruitment issues are only set to increase.

The Apprenticeship Opportunity

So what’s the solution? There is an exciting new route to emerging to deliver highly-sought-after technical skills: the Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship.

This new route will enable new and existing staff to gain valuable digital skills via a flexible work-based training programme that combines on and off-the-job learning and development.

By focusing on a broad range of digital and technology disciplines, the Degree Apprenticeship can start to develop the software developers, business analysts and IT project managers that are so desperately needed by employers, building the talent pipeline of tomorrow.

Discover how our Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship could help you develop the skills you need from within.