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The tech skills gap remains a hot topic

We need to find innovative ways to help develop and expand skills

Nomad Digital is a North East based business, and we compete to attract the best talent to help us innovate and develop products that support customers right around the world. We are not alone in this mission, there are many other great companies here, and across the rest of the United Kingdom, that face the same challenge. Niche and popular technical skills remain the hardest to attract, and the industry needs to find more innovative ways to help develop and expand these skills. But we cannot do this alone, we need to work with schools, colleges, universities, start-ups, other businesses in our community and with Government to find ways to alleviate the pressure on businesses in the UK. The problem is widespread, in all engineering, software, and technically oriented businesses. As businesses also look to improve team diversity, this presents further challenges.

 

North East’s Digital sector will become a £2.5bn industry

Currently in the North East there are 28,000 employees in the IT & Digital sector and by 2020, it’s estimated that the North East’s Digital sector will become a £2.5bn industry. Great News…Yes, but does this mean the obvious skills shortage will become even more of a problem? With the regions software and IT industry cluster growing by 30.7% – 2nd highest in the UK only behind London and the five universities here having the highest proportion of students studying STEM subjects in the UK, does this mean we have the opportunity to really change the problem? And what can businesses do to determine and support the curriculum with the skills needed?

All of the above questions are valid

It is very positive to see the technical sector continuing to develop, grow and mature right across the UK. If the skills challenge is to be addressed, businesses need to act and not solely rely on others to solve the problem.

Nomad Digital and NCFE are working with groups like Dynamo and with their members to determine ways in which this can be done. Nomad lead a session at the annual Dynamo conference on this important topic together with several other companies to not only present the issue, but also to seek feedback from others so that a plan of action could be agreed.  We would also welcome interaction with colleges, universities and schools to determine practical ways to tackle the issue.  A lot of this work needs to start at the school level, to develop and foster an interest and love of all things technical, so that more young people get engaged in tertiary technical education ideally leading on to technically related careers.

The Rocket Hack

This year Nomad Digital along with NCFE, Gardiner Richardson and NatWest Accelerator, as well as many more supporters are running ‘The Rocket Hack’ hackathon, in Newcastle, for the very first time and we welcome young people and start-ups to join us at what should be a great event. For launch details and live information, you can follow @TheRocketHack on Twitter and Instagram. The Rocket Hack will provide a chance to actively work with innovative people and companies who want to look at non-traditional ways of recruiting the right people with the right skills and working in partnerships.

We are also investing in local conferences, apprenticeships, work experience and getting involved with schools to help young people get exposure to what we do and the skills that we need. If everyone can do similar things, we can make a difference. Employee engagement & retention remains an issue for us all, but if we can build increased levels of technical skill capacity in the economy, then everyone will benefit.

It is becoming vital that we tackle the tech skills shortage, as many jobs that exist today may be replaced by machines and artificial intelligence, and some jobs that will be undertaken in 10 to 20 years’ time have not even been invented yet. Our best and brightest minds need to help us all react, navigate and pioneer the opportunities presented to us by this technology advancement.