BCS calls on Government to provide the right leadership to beat digital skills gap

13 June 2016

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, welcomes the Science and Technology Committee’s report into the Digital Skills Crisis published today. The committee asserts that the UK risks being left behind if the Government does not take more action to address the digital skills crisis.

David Evans, BCS Director of Policy, says: “The digital skills gap is a serious issue. We know first-hand from our work with employers, schools and universities that more needs to be done. While we appreciate that Government is trying to fix the problems, we believe that it needs to find systemic ways of continuously improving both quality and quantity of graduates, apprenticeships and teachers if they hope to succeed. Government also needs to ensure it is playing the most constructive role it can in enabling industry, universities and schools to collaborate effectively.”

BCS submitted evidence to the committee recommending the following three key areas that need to be addressed in order for the UK to begin to overcome the looming digital skills crisis:

  • An urgent need for more outstanding computing graduates from our world leading universities. We estimate there is demand from industry for at least twice as many high quality computing graduates than we presently produce.
  • An urgent need for more outstanding apprenticeships in our world leading companies. We estimate we need to increase the present number by a factor of three.
  • An urgent need for many more outstanding computing teachers in our schools.

Bill Mitchell, Director of Education at BCS explains: “We currently have a shortfall of 2000 computing teachers in secondary school compared to 2012 levels, less than 25% of computing teachers have a computing related degree, and 40% of computing teachers received no professional development from their school last year. Providing digital skills to the population as a whole requires all schools be good at teaching computing. Providing professional development to computing teachers must be a top priority.” 

David Evans concludes: “As part of our mission to make IT good for society we are particularly concerned with the future capability of the UK. Digital skills are essential to this if the UK is going to continue to remain competitive. Our work on this issue includes a capability challenge which will see us examine the complex inter-relationships between development of the existing workforce, recruitment processes, team compositions and interactions, diversity, accessibility and inclusion. We want to see good people, in the right role, as part of a good team, to do good things for society with a better environment for everyone as a result.”

Science and Technology Committee Digital skills inquiry

BCS Capability Challenge

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