The UK Digital Skills Taskforce engages with hundreds of organisations to look at what needs to be done to nurture home-grown talent to meet the needs of Britain’s modern economy.
We gather practical suggestions so we can understand what people working within education and industry feel needs to change, based on real-world experience.
This is our first report Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World
Next steps: Young Digital Taskforce
We always welcome your feedback and suggestions for future work. Do please get in touch if you wish to share thinking and ideas.
We are currently inviting young people in Haringey to feed into the independent STEM Commission for the borough. If you are a young person aged 10-25 or a teacher who would like your students to be involved, please get in touch . There are more details here.
There are many, many people we need to thank
We have held regional round tables across the country, from Newcastle to Plymouth, Reading to Wrexham, Doncaster to Hoxton. We asked for submissions of evidence and received over 60 from a range of businesses, educational establishments, learned societies, parents, employees, employers, academics and teachers. We also received many hundreds of additional emails. We conducted surveys for teachers and businesses, which provided us with helpful insights, especially through the comments people made. We have also used data gathered by TeenTech from asking 5500 teenagers survey questions during the many TeenTech events held across the UK.
We have filmed contributions so we can share the thinking first hand and create a useful resource for policy makers. This represents a considerable body of evidence, which we have made available on our YouTube channel.
The video below brings some of the thinking together but there are over 70 videos with a rich vein of suggestions for what will make a difference. The video below brings together just a fraction of the content available on our YouTube channel.
To complement the main review we also set up the Young Digital Taskforce, which brought together young people from across the UK to discuss the challenges we face and provide their feedback. Given so much of our report hopes to improve their education, it was important to involve them in the process. Their research helped us understand the perceptions young people had of careers in technology, and their ideas for what needed to change within schools are reflected in that chapter.
The Young Digital Taskforce will be one of the legacies of the report and their work will continue.
The many fantastic people involved in this report have shared their ideas with great candour and we’ve seen a real enthusiasm everywhere we went for education and business to work much more closely together. There is much policy makers can do to facilitate this process and we hope they will take on board the suggestions made by the many individuals and organisations who contributed to this report. However, we do not need to wait until the 2015 election to start this process. Many of the ideas can be taken forward immediately.
Why it matters
We are in the middle of a second industrial revolution.
We are also at a tipping point in terms of the skills required to build our economic and social livelihoods. The UK economy is gaining traction after years of recovery from the global financial crisis. Large companies are starting to grow and invest in both infrastructure and human talent. For many of these companies, they are beginning to realise that in order to survive, they must build their digital businesses with world-class talent which can compete globally.
At the same time, Britain has seen the emergence of an ‘entrepreneur class’ who are looking to build new businesses, many with dynamic technology platforms to support disruptive business models that directly target more traditional models established by larger companies. Over the past few years, many of these startups have been established and are beginning to show signs of dynamic growth and vibrancy. An increasing number of these businesses require more and more employees who have a deep understanding of digital, and the right skills to compete on a global scale.
Both large and small companies alike are turning towards human talent who have knowledge of software, coding and engineering skills that can help these companies to navigate effectively through this emerging technology landscape. These companies also require leadership who understand how to manage through this digital transition. As digital is global, the competition for talent with the best digital skills is everywhere, and those nations capable of nurturing and developing ‘home-grown’ digital talent, as well as supplementing home-grown talent with digital skills from all corners of the world, will be in a strong position to ensure that their economies will not only compete but thrive in a global economy that is rapidly evolving and ever-changing.
The UK has an opportunity to build a labour force equipped for a future that needs a new range of skills, which can help all kinds of organisations across the public and private sectors of the economy. Both short-term and long-term initiatives and solutions are required. The need for these skills is immediate and will grow on an exponential scale in the coming years. A flexible, adaptable and fully skilled workforce, spanning all generations, will ensure that Britain’s economic livelihood will continue to flourish and act as a critical pillar to ensure that the nation’s standard of living continues to rise in the coming decades.