Apprenticeships to bridge skills gap in digital sector

The digital sector is thriving and will be a leading source of employment in the years to come. However, due to rapid industry growth there is a distinct skills shortage which needs to be addressed. University courses often fail to equip young people with the skills they need for digital roles, meaning they enter the workplace unprepared.

Manchester Digital recently partnered with the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) to create an apprenticeship scheme which intends to bridge the skills gap. Research found that more than 50% of businesses in the North West were finding it difficult recruiting staff for digital roles. The partnership aims to create 450 apprenticeships in the region over the next two years.

Tony Foggett, chair of Manchester Digital, said: “Many employers in the sector are struggling to recruit staff with the necessary skills and competencies, and are now choosing to employ apprentices and train young people on the job instead, building skills needed through high quality apprenticeship offerings.”

Agilisys, which delivers IT and business services to four large Greater Manchester councils, has just launched Arch, its digital and IT apprenticeship programme, in Manchester.  Ben Rowland, Arch’s co-founder, said: “This research shows there is real demand in and around Manchester for a new way of getting digital skills.  We know from our work in London with firms like Google and Barclays that digital apprenticeships can play a key role in this, so we’re really excited about launching in Manchester.”