Digital skills shortage – How it’s possible to upskill your team and actually get paid for doing it

The UK is heading towards a “catastrophic” digital skills shortage “disaster” the Learning and Work institute has warned. The demand for digital skills has never been higher and the number of people taking GCSEs in IT subjects has dropped 40% since 2015.

It is recognised that the demand for skills in AI, the Cloud, Software Development, Robotics and Data Science (to name a few) has skyrocketed in the last 20 years and we are struggling to meet the needs of industry with the talent pool we have. 

70% of young people leave education expecting their future employers to invest in training them and upskilling them to succeed in a digital world yet only 50% of businesses surveyed were able to offer that training. Conversely, under 50% of employers thought students leaving full-time education were ill equipped to enter the workplace with the skills they had.

Worldskills UK is a charity focused on educating the future workforce and they feel there are four main reasons why there is an increasing skills shortage.

  1. Lack of clearly defined job roles in certain fields
  2. Lack of understanding and guidance about potential career paths
  3. Lack of relatable role models
  4. Difficulty in making technical careers appealing to young people

Clearly, there is a disconnect between the skills required in industry and the skills coming out of education and there is a great opportunity for employers who have an interest in building their future pipelines to think creatively about how they inspire, motivate, and cultivate their future talent. 

There are increasing numbers of options growing to help combat the need for digital skills and more and more students are looking at non-University routes that can offer on the job training whilst still giving formal training in areas like software development. These programmes can offer the theoretical knowledge married with the invaluable experience of working in a full-time career. 

We enjoy working with clients who are open to creative solutions to future staffing requirements and can work collaboratively to design and develop talent pipelines that will service the needs of the business in years to come. This approach can enable us to complement experienced hires with new, hungry, and motivated talent eager to learn new skills and progress their careers, combining formal education and on the job experience. 

We recently recognised one of our clients had a growing need for Developers at various levels over the next 1-3 years.  They also have location and salary constraints which traditionally reduce the talent pool before business as usual recruitment even starts.  They wanted to develop a model where young talent was fed into the various teams, mentored and a model that would promote internally for senior roles.  People they will already know that have the right cultural and technical skills.  Fortunately, we have an incredibly collaborative relationship with this organisation and we were invited to join discussions about plotting the appropriate strategy.  Fast forward to today, and we’ve helped them to secure a training provider, content, pay and reward structure as well as a process for identifying the right talent.  The training is worth almost £20,000 for each individual, and it will provide the right level of talent with the right skills which will be bolstered with practical experience in amongst the teams for 70% of the time.  But the really good news is it’s not going to cost them a penny, in fact they will get paid to buy equipment and further training.

If you wanted to chat with someone about where we may be able to help, then don’t hesitate to contact us.

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