Many sectors across the UK are struggling with growing skills gaps among the younger generation but nowhere is this more true than in tech. As business becomes increasingly digitised, this gap becomes increasingly debilitating.
Last year, government-commissioned research found that at least 82 per cent of all advertised job openings required proficiency in digital skills. The growing importance of this skillset, however, is not being reflected in the education younger works receive.
A survey conducted by the CBI this year found that more than 50 per cent of young people in the UK think their education has not adequately prepared them for their future careers. This claim is supported by the testimony of employers: 40 per cent of all employers identify a skills shortage as the primary reason that they are unable to fill entry level jobs.
This disparity between the skills of the younger generation and the skills required to enter employment could have significant economic impacts. A report by Accenture estimated that if this digital skills gap is not closed, the UK economy could miss out on GDP growth totalling £141.5 billion.
While government has attempted to respond to this issue, with then-apprenticeship minister Anne Milton announcing a range of free new digital qualification courses in April 2019, much of the burden has fallen on businesses within the private sector.
Sparta Global are one such company attempting to tackle this issue. Alongside providing IT consultancy, they expanded into providing 8-12 week bootcamp courses to try and close a skills gap they had identified at all levels of the tech sector. According to research they conducted, skills gaps persisted at every level: a 38 per cent gap at graduate level, 55 per cent at middle level and 38 per cent at management level.
The bootcamp courses were established after David Rai, the founder and CEO of Sparta Global, noticed that while technology was moving forward at “breakneck speed”, the UK’s ability to develop and attract the necessary level of digital talent was not.
In order to address this, the business expanded and began to offer training programmes . Describing the benefits of training the next generation, Rai wrote in The Parliamentary Review: “More people working in tech gives the industry a wider talent pool to choose from, but closing the skills divide is about more than a plugging gap. Attracting, training and cultivating the best digital talent in the UK has always been my main objective.”
Key to their approach has been embracing diversity and ensuring that they receive a wide range of applications. “Our academies are helping to shape a tech workforce that is representative of the UK today, populated by people from different walks of life, with different ideas, strengths and weaknesses,” Rai said.
“This recognition starts at recruitment, which we base on an applicant’s competency rather than their degree.”
In November, Dominic Raab called on companies to “invest in innovation” in order to find solutions to skills shortages. By expanding their training programmes and working to develop the skills of the next generation, Sparta Global have risen to that challenge.