Business must work with educators to tackle skills challenge – CBI

CBI chief executive Paul Dreschler has spoken out about the challenges facing small firms seeking to go further down the road of digital development.

“The big issue for government is STEM skills – that we generate them through our own education system,” he says. “But if we can’t, we need access to the best talent and skills globally. “The prime minister wants to create equality of opportunity irrespective of background and postcode,” Drechsler said, and pointed out that encouraging digital skills is at the epicentre of that because technology is “the single principal change going on in the world that will present opportunities in the future”.


‘SMEs are where the energy is’

Tackling this must involve a joint effort. Business in the community, Dreschler said, can play a critical role to play in supporting schools to promote core, tech-related aspects of the curriculum: “Right across the country we have businesses working with schools [on things such as coding and start-ups]. Every business in the country should have a relationship with its community.”

Fortunately, Dreschler says that the UK is blessed with a vibrant, world class SME sector that can innovate its way to growth. ““I find the agility, speed and creativity is in the small business community… that’s where the energy is. Make the case on this basis and millennials will find your smaller energetic organisation attractive.”