Now that at least 92% of jobs in the UK require some form of digital skill, candidates need to be comfortable and confident with the latest technology.
The technology industry itself has seen a growth rate 2.8 times higher than other sectors in the past ten years. Meanwhile, with the UK considering new opportunities and directions of travel post-Brexit, it would seem that a digitally inclusive and literate work force is appropriate to our times.
But the UK has a serious digital skills shortfall – only two years ago we had just 16,000 computer science graduates. Those figures are tiny compared to many other countries – in 2014/15, Poland produced 47,000 graduates and China over 300,000.
Which is why a new Microsoft initiative has been so well-received – by pledging to train 500,000 people in the next three years, the company will be at the forefront of helping the UK become a cloud-enabled, technology skilled economy. Those half a million people who have up-to-date knowledge, a wide experience and who can deliver industry relevant support will provide a new pool of talent to help plug our skills gap.
Microsoft is also adding an extra 30,000 digital apprentices to its current scheme of 11,000. The original target the corporation set for new apprentices, back in 2012, was 4,000 – a goal that now appears derisory!
One element of these 30,000 new apprenticeships is ensuring that more women get involved and feel comfortable studying technology, science, engineering and maths.
Chancellor Phillip Hammond, who visited Microsoft’s headquarters in Reading, said, “This is further evidence that Britain is one of the best places in the world to do digital business. Microsoft’s commitment to training, technology and apprenticeships will ensure that we remain at the cutting-edge of innovation.
With this many new apprenticeships available for women as well as men, and so many extra opportunities to train and learn, this announcement from Microsoft really could be the start of something special.