The government’s Institute of Coding could help create a truly digital workforce
James Milligan of Hays Digital Technology welcomes PM Theresa May’s investments in closing the technology skills gap
Credit: Adobe Stock
The prime minister’s digital investment announcement at Davos is just one of the recent initiatives shining a much-needed spotlight on digital skills in the UK.
The plans include a new Institute of Coding, which will be a consortium of more than 60 universities, businesses and industry experts – and I was particularly pleased to hear of the robust sounding strategy which aims to support digital skills investment from all angles.
In co-ordinating education, businesses, and industry experts, the investment will hopefully allow for direct communication between all three areas, something that has previously been disconnected. For example, if businesses aren’t consistently communicating what skills they are struggling to recruit for, or what training their workforce needs, the government will struggle to provide the right help.
The investment, which is part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, comes at a pertinent time, as skills shortages continue to plague the majority of sectors across the UK.
For some areas, there are particularly attractive opportunities and salaries for candidates in the market. There’s been significant salary increases – upwards of 6% this year, according to Hays figures – for roles such as Java developers and analyst programmers, demonstrating the market worth these skills have. With salaries in the industry being driven upwards by increasing demand for technological skills, fierce competition for talent and a shrinking candidate market, organisations are doing their best to set themselves apart as an employer of choice, in order to attract and retain the best candidates.
- Coding in the open attracts digital talent, says MoJ
- Digital Strategy looks to industry for increased skills, government innovation and productivity
- Bridging the UK Digital Skills Gap in the Public Sector
Whilst there are talented digital specialists available, the pipeline of talent simply isn’t broad enough to support current business needs. Developing the Institute of Coding will hopefully pave the way for graduates to be able to learn the right skills – from coding languages, to cybersecurity – as well as employers having a clear input into what will be taught. The initiative offers the ability for the curriculum and framework to be flexible in adapting not only to employer’s needs but, crucially, to the changing technology landscape.
In being flexible, we can constantly embrace technological change across the UK, giving us a competitive edge for the future. The digital skills gap could cost the UK £63bn per year in lost GDP, according to the Commons Science and Technology Committee. So, our future plans aren’t just supporting our position from a technology perspective, but will provide a much-needed boost for our economy too.
Additionally, the core themes outlined in the plans address other key issues across the digital sector which will, in turn, support skills gaps. Widening participation, for example, will boost equality and diversity in technology-related education and careers. Technology offers worthwhile and fulfilling careers for men and women alike, and we should work together to drive this message forward to create even more diverse, energetic, and innovative workplace cultures.
I’m optimistic that the plans for an Institute of Coding will act as the backbone to build a diverse and large talent pool that the industry has been crying out for. Businesses need future leaders in technology, and with the right skills in place, we can start to make headway as a truly digital workforce.
The relaunched annual GDS event shone a light on the government’s key digital-transformation strategies and initiatives for the coming months and years. PublicTechnology went along to...
Measures unveiled in bumper research funding package include 100 additional AI PhDs
Philip Hammond vows that every building in the UK will have access to an FTTP network within 15 years
Ahead of next week’s Sprint 18 event, GDS director general Kevin Cunnington outlines the organisation’s focus areas for the coming months, and its achievements of the past two years
The cautionary tale of the Leicestershire teenager who hacked high-ranking officials of NATO allies shows the need for improved password security
Calm has turned a section of the 57,509-word EU document into a sleep-inducing audio book
Which? said a lack of knowledge about data among consumers had led to suspicion and doubt over useful innovations
BT's Konstantinos Karagiannis explains ethical hacking and why it's important to exploit vulnerabilities