Diversity can bridge digital skills gap – Cable

One of the leading voices in the skills debate, Vince Cable, has put his weight behind a push to get more a more diverse workforce into the tech and digital sector.

“I completely support those who are proactively promoting technology apprenticeships to diverse audiences,” said Sir Vince. “Post Brexit Britain faces a chronic digital skill shortage. Gender diversity and inclusion should be high priority to the ongoing strategy to recruit apprentices to enable the UK to bridge the skills gap effectively.”

However, despite the imminent introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, there is clear evidence that many companies are not yet fully prepared for it, and may be missing out on the opportunity to make a real difference to their talent development programme. Recent research from Arch Apprentices shows that:

  • 30% of businesses either aren’t prepared or don’t know about the levy
  • 39% of business don’t intend to use the levy
  • 15% of businesses haven’t allocated the Levy

These figures show as much as £1bn of skills funding could go unclaimed and unspent


‘Missed opportunity’

The Arch research also showed that of those companies planning to use the Levy, 64% plan to invest in IT training, 51% in Digital, and 44% Marketing. Those stats alone should be enough to make any business sit up and take notice.

Jason Moss, CEO of Arch Apprentices, a leading training provider of IT and Digital apprenticeships, says Cable’s call is especially timely given the imminent introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy

“The UK’s digital skills gap is an ongoing issue that needs to be addressed,” he said. “At Arch, through our work with some of the world’s leading tech companies, we have seen how a diverse and innovative workforce can be a real differentiator. By encouraging as varied an intake as possible companies are fair more likely to find a better range of skills and talent to help them grow. We feel the advent of the Levy is a great opportunity to make some progress in this area.”


‘Helping change attitudes’

John Pritchard, the newly appointed head of apprenticeships at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT added: “Apprenticeships enable young people to build the academic, practical and behavioural skills they require for success in digital professions, but they also help create the talent that is vital in boosting the UK’s diverse digital economy.

“Our aim is to facilitate the apprenticeship community, from training providers, employers, schools and universities to ensure that we are all working towards giving young people the right opportunities and skills that employers want,” added Pritchard.

“It was evident from our debate that we all want to see more people taking advantage of these digital apprenticeships and that the quality of these programmes will help the UK to change attitudes towards how we grow our future talent. This is vital if we are going to avoid the potential massive skills gap which is forecast in technology.”

Anyone interested in finding out more about getting the most from their Apprenticeship Levy should attend a webinar next Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017 at 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM GMT


More details are available here: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/2459983924828227331