The UK government has unveiled a new Digital Skills Council as it attempts to fix the alarming lack of suitable recruits across the country.
According to the government, over 80% of all jobs advertised in the UK now require digital skills, however employers say the lack of available talent is the single biggest factor holding back growth. Estimates suggest the digital skills gap costs the UK economy as much as £63 billion a year in potential GDP.
Working directly with employers, the council will encourage investment in employer-led training to upskill workforces.
The council – chaired by Digital Minister Chris Philp and Phil Smith CBE, chairman of British semiconductor firm IQE – will look at the issue of digital skills from schools through to lifelong learning.
It’s an issue that is well known in the UK. Some offer opinions on the matter, such as ‘Plugging the Digital Skills Gap by Drawing on Female Talent‘; while others have launched a new digital security innovation proposition that aims to bring 1,000 jobs to the digital and cybersecurity sectors in Greater Manchester.
While the matter of digital skills is a problem to deal with, the UK has actually been doing quite well. Investment in the nation’s tech sector has recently overtaken both India and China compared to the full year 2021 rankings with $15.6 billion (£12.7 billion) raised to the end of May 2022.
- It’s not all grim – UK Overtakes China to Hit £12.7bn Tech Investment – read the news here
Along with that, Boris Johnson’s government has unveiled a new UK Digital Strategy as part of London Tech Week.
The plan discusses six essential areas – digital infrastructure, encouraging intellectual property rights, UK’s place in global leadership, bolstering tech skills through training, creating a multi-modal and integrated roadmap, and improving financial mobility via Innovate UK and the British Business Bank.
Philp also announced a tech scholarship fund worth £23 million to encourage data science and AI in schools with a special focus on minorities and the disabled, starting 2023.
Moreover, the government plans to set up a Future of Compute Review. The review board will study the UK’s high-performance computing needs and develop a plan for greater adoption of AI, IoT sensors, quantum computing and cloud proliferation.
If estimates are believed, the newly launched roadmap has the potential to add another £41.5 billion and 678,000 jobs to the UK’s economy by 2025.
In the meantime, the government also announced plans to remodify listing rules for startups to raise investments and a visa exemption for high-potential individuals to set up an educational or business base in the UK.