Britain faces "growing shortage" of digital skills - The Telegraph

Announced in November last year by Labour leader, Ed Miliband, the task force was set up with the aim of closing the skills gap in the British work force.

Estimates from the Science Council suggest that the ICT workforce will grow by 39 per cent by 2030, and a 2013 report from O2 stated that around 745,000 additional workers with digital skills would be needed to meet demand between now and 2017.

Furthermore, research by City & Guilds conducted last year revealed that three quarters of employers in the IT, Digital and Information Services Sector said that their industry was facing a skills gap, while 47 per cent of employers surveyed said that the education system wasn’t meeting the needs of business.

The report – ‘Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World’ – suggests that a failure to understand the opportunities within the digital workplace by parents, pupils and teachers, has, in part, led to this digital skills shortage.

Perceptions among students that technology roles are “jobs for boys” are also “extremely damaging” to the industry, according to the report.

While the new computing curriculum is set to be introduced into schools in September 2014, the report warns that teachers will need “considerable help” to prepare and retrain.

Currently, only 45 per cent of secondary school ICT teachers have a post A level qualification relevant to the subject, while the majority of primary school teachers do not have a computing background.

A recent survey revealed that 60 per cent of teachers do not feel confident delivering the new curriculum, while a poll of 250 primary school teachers by Ocado found that 73 per cent don’t feel that have been given the necessary resources – including training – to teach the subject.

The report has called on the Government to invest an additional £20 million by 2020 to help embed the new curriculum in schools – further to the £3.5 million already provided; a sum which the report has labelled as “simply not sufficient”.

Led by Maggie Philbin, the former Tomorrow’s World presenter, the Digital Skills Taskforce was launched in order to make a series of independent recommendations to inform political debate ahead of the general election.

Further to the call for additional funding, the report also calls for:

– Computing to become a fourth ‘core science’, giving pupils access to digital training up to 19 years of age.


– A network of school governors with expertise in computing to be established.

– Collaboration between schools, colleges and universities to enhance careers advice and the curricular and extra-curricular opportunities available to young people…

The Telegraph is reporting that Britain faces a growing shortage of digital skills, while stereotypical perceptions of technology careers prevent many pupils from continuing into the digital industries, according to a report published today by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce…


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