Council meetings often cover formal items such as electing the next BCS President or changes to BCS’ regulations. January’s meeting was different. It was much more informal and had several items for discussion and debate.

These topics are generally suggested by Council members and are based on their own interests. BCS members’ expressed interests are also explored too.

Procedurally, there’s usually a short presentation followed by questions and general discussion. This all helps to ensure that Council members understand our profession’s hottest topics.

A month in the life of council

This month we had sessions on:

  • Communicating with the membership
  • The latest from the BCS Academy
  • A thought-provoking session on the IT skills shortage
  • An update on professional certifications

This blog is one of the outcomes from the session on communicating with the membership. The idea is to spread the word about what we’re been exploring and give to you a chance to raise issues that you think we should discuss at future Council meetings.

Academy board

In his presentation to Council, Bill Mitchell, Director of Public Affairs at BCS, told us about some of the areas that the Academy Board covered in 2017. This included:

  • An overview of the Royal Society report After the reboot: computing education in UK schools
  • The Treasury announcement of £84m for training computing teachers
  • The EPSRC report on diversity in university computing departments. BCS was a sponsor
  • The successful RITTech pilot at Bath. This is likely to be extended to other universities such as Surrey and Salford

Statistics and skills

Gillian Arnold - Vice-President, Trustee Director, BCS Learning & Development - explored several strands that fitted into the government strategy on IT skills. These included:

  • Schools
  • Apprentices and universities
  • The digitally disadvantaged
  • Professionals
  • Equality and women in tech.

The statistics about IT skills provision in the UK were mind blowing and the presentation gave food for thought about the depth and severity of the IT skills shortages.

Finding a solution

Some of the answers to the skills gap might be found in apprenticeships, RITTech and CITP. This was the subject of the final presentation where Jeremy Barlow, BCS Director of Standards, updated us on the solid reputation that BCS has built - in a short time - as a market leader and the voice for the new Digital IT Apprenticeships.

We heard that these new standards will address the digital skills shortage and provide employers with new talent.

Jeremy reminded us that RITTech is sponsored by the Gatsby Foundation. It was designed by BCS to recognise the talents of IT technicians and provides a recognised benchmark standing across digital and tech industries.

RITTech should become a game changer for digital and IT apprenticeships as the Institute is able to accredit Apprenticeship Programmes against RITTech.

CITP has been updated too. It now has a greater focus on competence rather than on time served. It also offers a wide variety of ways to demonstrate breadth of knowledge. This should also encourage more professionals to apply for chartered status.

I hope you have found this blog useful, and I look forward to receiving your comments and issues for future Council meetings. You can email us at

Helen Fletcher CEng MBCS CITP
Chair of Council 2017 - 2019