09 Apr 2024
by Toby Barnard PGCE MSc BEng(Hons)

3 ways to bridge the Digital Skills Gap in UK Defence

Guest blog by Toby Barnard, Managing Director Government Learning at QA Ltd

The UK defence sector plays a vital role in national security but faces a critical challenge: a growing digital skills gap. A lack of skilled professionals in areas such as cyber security, data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) affects the industry's ability to remain innovative and competitive.

While the digital skills gap presents a significant challenge, this blog delves into three robust solutions to cultivate a leading-edge digital workforce within the UK defence sector.

“Almost all businesses are continually investing in their technology to gain a competitive edge. But this technology is ultimately useless if you don’t know how to use it. Applying learning is vital to equip people with the skills to understand and exploit technologies, methods and methodologies. The Digital Defence Academy has been designed to offer advance digital apprenticeships, all fully funded to support the sectors digital skills growth.”

Toby Barnard PGCE MSc BEng(Hons), Managing Director Government Learning at QA Ltd

Solutions for a Secure Future

1. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives

The combination of classroom learning and on-the-job training allows individuals to gain practical experience alongside theoretical knowledge, providing the ability to rapidly add value to any organisation. This is particularly valuable for digital skills such as cyber security or data analytics and AI.

2. Collaboration

Partnerships between industry, government, and educational institutions can create innovative solutions, such as apprenticeship programmes and talent-sharing initiatives. From seeing the benefits and opportunity through collaboration, the Digital Defence Academy came to fruition, creating fully funded training for the sector.

3. Developing homegrown talent

Moving beyond traditional recruitment methods and focusing on growing your talent in- house can aid with identifying individuals with strong aptitude and willingness to learn. This allows for nurturing your workforce into cyber specialists, data analysts or AI experts, tailored to the industry's needs. Investing time and resources in upskilling talent, fosters a sense of loyalty and commitment to a company, leading to a more stable and long-term workforce. Apprenticeships are also renowned for opening doors to a wide range of candidates, promoting diversity and inclusion within the UK defence sector.

Bridging the digital skills gap starts with you. Join QA's Digital Defence Academy, an innovative programme designed to equip UK defence organisations with the critical digital skills needed to thrive in the digital age.

Join us for our inaugural networking summit to learn more, and take the first step towards building a secure future.

Alternatively, we encourage you to join one of our no-obligation drop-in sessions to find out more.

Jeremy Wimble

Jeremy Wimble

Programme Manager, Defence, techUK

Jeremy is the programme manager responsible for the defence programme, which works to help the UK's defence technology sector align itself with the Ministry of Defence including Defence Digital.

Prior to joining techUK, from 2016-2024 Jeremy was International Security Programme Manager at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). In that role he coordinated the team’s research and impact activities for funders including the FCDO and US Department of Defense, as well as business development and strategy.

Jeremy has a MA in International Relations from the University of Birmingham and a BA (Hons) in Politics & Social Policy from Swansea University.

[email protected]

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Toby Barnard PGCE MSc BEng(Hons)

Managing Director, Government Learning, QA