UK tech leaders have recently met in Parliament to dissect the country's chronic skills crisis. MPs, business leaders, and policy makers were all in attendance.
The discussion occurred during the Parliament Street think tank's Digital Skills Summit, an event hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford and chaired by Steven George-Hilley.
The expert panel contemplated the role businesses should undertake in addressing the skills gap and pushed for schemes to persuade more young people to delve into the tech sphere. Among the voices heard were those of industry leaders roundly agitating for transforming the education system and modernising employment strategies.
Underscoring the problem’s urgency, these leaders shared ideas on how to ensure citizens are digitally literate and how this literacy could benefit the nation's technological progress.
Daniel Haville, founder of BI:PROCSI, outlined the necessity of embracing emerging technologies in a quote: "Embracing data transformation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence is not just a nice to have; it's a societal imperative and will be the differentiator in the job market."
Echoing this sentiment, he also underlined the importance of collective efforts in redefining educational and workforce strategies.
John Kirk, Group Deputy CEO at Inspired Thinking Group, insisted on the need for a joint approach from the government and businesses to ameliorate digital skills in alignment with the increasing demand.
Michael Thornton, Senior Director, Public Sector at Investigo, suggested that the skills crisis is partially a result of organisations' ineffective procedures for recognising their digital needs and finding and deploying the relevant talent.
Margo Waldorf, Founder of Change Awards, touched on how the growth of the UK’s technological sector demands the successful implementation of education, learning, and training initiatives.
Sharon Davies, CEO of Young Enterprise, highlighted the further speedup of digitalisation in the wake of Covid-19. Davies went on to promote an applied learning approach, giving young people more opportunities to apply their skills in real life situations and therefore better prepare for future employment.
Rachid Hourizi MBE, Director at the Institute of Coding, echoed the panel's emphasis on lifelong learning, mentioning, "Education doesn't simply happen in early years up until work, it happens throughout life. There is real work going on to change the way we teach and train."
The summit, overall, underscored the urgency and depth of the UK’s digital skills crisis and highlighted the collective responsibility of businesses, educators, policy makers, and individuals in addressing it.
Parliament Street is a young think tank dedicated to creating a community of ideas. It aims to give members a high return on involvement through participation.