Why Apprentices Are ready To Fill The Tech Void
With the relentless rise of digital tech in the modern-day workplace, you’d be forgiven for thinking that employers were universally on top of their strategy for attracting, retaining and developing digital talent.
If recent reports are to go by though, this is far from the truth. And it’s only getting worse!
According to a skills shortage report published by the Edge Foundation, there are 600,000 tech jobs that companies just can’t fill. These vacancies are costing the UK economy £63 BILLION a year.
What struck me most about this figure is the sheer scale of it! 600,000 vacancies don’t just appear overnight. These vacancies have been appearing (and going unfilled) in the UK’s technology ecosystem for years.
So why is there STILL a shortage Within The Tech Industry?
There are two reasons.
Firstly, UK companies are obsessed with their productivity today. Don’t get me wrong, of course this is vital to business, but there seems to be a lack of focus on the medium term in many large or growing businesses. With Brexit on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for UK Plc to start hedging by investing in talent that will become the future workforce.
Secondly, there is an issue with the process. There is currently no scalable, trusted process which is widely adopted by companies to fast track young talent into positions where they are productive. University takes at least three years, and very few graduates are instantly productive. Schools certainly don’t produce huge numbers of highly productive, work-ready young people.
Here at The London Group, we believe that one of the answers lies somewhere in the middle. What schools do produce is thousands of young people whose only limitation is that they do not have the network or the training they need to become productive workers, quickly.
These young people have bucket loads of energy and enthusiasm, but they fall at the first hurdle because too many employers are obsessed with an instant return.
What Tech Skills Do Our Applicants Already Have?
Every day, The London group is inundated with young people looking to start a career within the tech industry.
Many of our apprentices are self-taught, learning skills which fall way outside of the school curriculum. This includes courses as varied Google Digital Garage, Microsoft’s Virtual Academy, Technet Virtual Labs, Udemy, Codecademy, Pluralsight, Salesforce Trailheads and even using good ol’ YouTube to investigate, learn and apply new skills.
Furthermore, if you dig a little deeper, many of these same young people are running their own social channels. They’re building software and IT networks to solve problems in their daily lives, or producing incredible content to tell the story of something they’re passionate about.
How many of them would tell you about this on their CV… none, or at least very few. Worse still, how many of their CVs would even make it to the screen of your laptop? Fewer still. And how many would you give a job to? Well… you get the point.
Why Apprenticeship Providers Can Bridge The Gap In Tech Shortages.
Apprenticeship providers are seeing a completely different side of the skills shortage spectrum. Not only are we able to tap into a talent pool of eager and enthusiastic young people (there are over a million of these in London alone), we’re also able to harness the huge potential of diverse groups, such as women and other minorities, who are looking to get into the tech industry.
Proof: Only 17% of UK IT specialists are female. Here at The London Group, we have a 50/50 gender split of apprentices. Almost TRIPLE that of industry standard.
So, apprenticeship providers are uniquely positioned to support employers in their efforts to bridge the skills gap. We have applicants applying for tech apprenticeships DAILY from a variety of different backgrounds. Whilst we have experienced industry professionals who can help these young people to become truly productive workers, and quickly. And we have the support of a government backed apprenticeship system which funds everything we do!
What we lack are the employers who are willing to look ahead to the not-too-distant future. Who take action, investing time and effort today to develop the talent and skills they require for tomorrow. If this does not happen, those 600,000 vacancies will only grow in number and in a year’s time we’ll be having the same conversation.
In order to fill those 600,000 vacancies, employers must understand the world of work is changing. Digital is the new core skill for the modern economy. It is now critical that companies begin to address bridge the gap between talented young people those 600,000 vacancies begin to get filled.
The talent is out there and apprenticeship providers are ready to help fill those roles within the tech industry.