03 Mar 2021

Tackling the Digital Skills shortfall

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer, FDM Group provides context for the digital skills gap across the UK as part of techUK's #GeospatialFuture campaign

The government’s recent ‘roadmap to recovery’ outline has presented us with a light at the end of the tunnel, and businesses are already drawing up plans to build back stronger, reintroduce growth and expansion initiatives and drive a major economic recovery.

Key to this return to pre-Covid familiarity is digital skills, which will enable businesses to operate efficiently, adapt to new market conditions and transform customer services.

However, adding to the long list of dilapidation caused by Covid-19, has been its impact on the digital skills shortfall, which has widened amidst the chaos of the Covid-19 pandemic, due to millions of workers missing out on vital digital skills training because of furlough and abandoned upskilling initiatives, alongside diminishing applications for University.

Simultaneous to this widening skills gap, society’s dependence on technology has surged significantly and permanently – remote working has become a mainstay for thousands of organisations, and business services have transitioned to almost an entirely online environment, leading to enormous demand for STEM-related job roles in cyber security, computing, coding and engineering, to name just a few subject areas. This is equally true for a career in Geospatial

At FDM, we anticipated this shortfall early, and despite the disruption caused by the crisis were still employing new joiners throughout even the most difficult period of the pandemic. We also took advantage of the downtime caused by Covid-19 and implemented widespread workplace digital skills training sessions for all employees, both long-term and new, across the company. But most impressively, our online digital skills initiatives have actually worked – feedback has been positive and team members are still learning on the job, working remotely, and getting regular support from our HR and people teams.

Our recent polling revealed that two-thirds (65%) of British companies see the digital skills shortfall as one of the most significant challenges facing their company in 2021 and beyond, and we would highly encourage those concerned business leaders to implement bespoke and head-to-toe digital upskilling initiatives as a priority.

Recently we also announced a pledge to hire over 2,000 new IT trainees this year as part of a major global recruitment drive.

So, if you are considering a career in Geospatial, whether you have just finished school or University, are looking to return to work from a career break, or would even like to completely change career paths, there has never been a better time to put your name forward, with digital skills being a must-have for ambitious companies looking to reboot, rebuild and grow again.

You can read more insights from techUK's #GeospatialFuture campaign here!

Laura Foster

Laura Foster

Programme Manager, Technology and Innovation, techUK

Laura is techUK’s Programme Manager for Technology and Innovation.

She supports the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.

Before joining techUK, Laura worked internationally in London, Singapore and across the United States as a conference researcher and producer covering enterprise adoption of emerging technologies. This included being part of the strategic team at London Tech Week.

Laura has a degree in History (BA Hons) from Durham University, focussing on regional social history. Outside of work she loves reading, travelling and supporting rugby team St. Helens, where she is from.

[email protected]

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Zoe Brockbank

Programme Coordinator, Policy, Tech and Innovation, techUK

Zoe is a Programme Assistant, supporting techUK's work across Policy, Technology and Innovation.

The team makes the tech case to government and policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall, Brussels and across the UK on the most pressing issues affecting this sector and supports the Technology and Innovation team in the application and expansion of emerging technologies across business, including Geospatial Data, Quantum Computing, AR/VR/XR and Edge technologies.

Before joining techUK, Zoe worked as a Business Development and Membership Coordinator at London First and prior to that Zoe worked in Partnerships at a number of Forex and CFD brokerage firms including Think Markets, ETX Capital and Central Markets.

Zoe has a degree (BA Hons) from the University of Westminster and in her spare time, Zoe enjoys travelling, painting, keeping fit and socialising with friends.

[email protected]
020 7331 2174

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