The Ridiculous UK Digital Skills Shortage

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Let’s be clear here; the demand for AI, programming and computing skills is soaring. Yet, the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE level has declined by a whopping 40% since 2015 in the UK. Think about that for a minute….

We have a skills SHORTAGE now. Yet in the future we are going to have LESS people to do the jobs we have today let alone satisfy the increased demand for digital jobs that will continue to increase year on year. That’s ridiculous!

When we stand in front of a group of children and tell them they can program computer games, robots or make digital art and films for a living they go crazy! They love it. We’re not careers advisors but we do want to engage learners and show them a career pathway.

We teach the ages we teach for a reason; we humanise and relate the computing opportunity whilst inspiring young people to a prosperous digital future. When our learners get to GCSE age we want them to demand their GCSE in computing!

Many employers believe that now more than ever, digital literacy is important for profitability.  However, young people are leaving education without sufficient digital skills and not all employers are able to provide on-the-job training.

This presents a problem, as The Learning & Work Institute reveal that 70% of young people expect employers to teach them digital skills.

Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann, chief executive at WorldSkills UK, puts the shortage down to 4 main reasons:

  1. A lack of clearly defined job roles in certain fields
  2. A lack of understanding and guidance about potential career paths
  3. A lack of relatable role models
  4. A difficulty in making many technical professionals seem appealing to young people, especially young women

So, what now?

To put it simply, interest in digital subjects and skills is rapidly declining, whilst demand for talent is at an all-time high, especially during the pandemic which has proven the importance of digital skills for business.

More importantly, it has highlighted the uncertainty around where these skills should come from. Jam Coding was established in 2014 for exactly this reason.

We believe that children should learn digital skills from their early school years. We’re dedicated to helping young learners see the fun, rewarding opportunities that a digital career can provide.

If you’re a headteacher, teacher or parent and want to guide your child or children towards a bright digital future then we would love to hear from you. Jam Coding are working across the country directly with Primary Schools and communities to help deliver our goal: The next generation of Digital Citizens.

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