This week, techUK gave oral evidence to the Science & Technology Select Committee on the Digital Skills Gap.
Charlotte Holloway, techUK’s Head of Policy, outlined a number of issues tech companies face in attracting talent into the industry, building on techUK’s recent written submission to the Science and Technology Committee. She highlighted key recommendations from techUK's white paper, We're just not doing enough - working together to meet the digital skills challenge, including the importance of having teachers well-trained to deliver the Computing Curriculum and the importance of getting the details right in the implementation of the Apprenticeship Levy.
Charlotte emphasised the different types of digital skills needs the UK faces today – from basic digital skills to the specific high-skilled needs of the tech sector. The digital skills gap is one of the most urgent policy challenges facing the UK, from ensuring everyone is online and able to access services they vitally need to the tech sector being able to access the talent they need to grow.
Charlotte highlighted the importance of digital skills as a foundation of the Government's forthcoming Digital Strategy, and how every Government department had a role to play in reaping the full benefits of digital.
Charlotte emphasised the significance of initiatives such as the Computing Curriculum to nurture the digital talent pipeline in the UK. She stated that it is crucial the £3.5m funding for CPD training is maintained, if not increased for teachers. Charlotte also highlighed the good work of Code Club to the MPs, and welcomed the progress it is making in helping children upskill digitally in areas all across the UK. In regards to apprenticeships, Charlotte stressed techUK’s position on the apprenticeship levy and the importance of bringing digital across all apprenticeships in all sectors. She highlighted that the needs of the tech sector may differ from others when training apprenticeships, and impact on Graduate Schemes and internal training must be considered with the implementation of the levy.
As a final recommendation to the committee, Charlotte discussed techUK’s white paper, We’re just not doing enough – Working together to meet the digital skills challenge, and specifically on the recommendation to build a dynamic map of the digital skills pipeline. The map should be created to better understand the cumulative impact of recent education reforms and wider ‘informal education’ on meeting the overall digital skills challenge facing the UK.
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