How Can Schools Help To Bridge The Tech Skills Gap?

The Tech Skills Shortage

The development and implementation of new technologies such as AI and the growing importance of Cyber Security, means that the demand for IT professionals is expanding rapidly. Therefore work needs to be done to close the gap when it comes to shortages in talent in the tech industry.

According to a report by recruitment firms Robert Walters, Jobsite and Totaljobs published August 2018, 89% of hiring managers anticipate a skills shortage in the sector, with skills mostly lacking in mid/management level - likely due to lack of junior recruitment during the recession and a recent increase in schemes to help with encouraging junior talent.

When hiring for new talent, many professionals only have a basic understanding of Cyber Security, BI (business intelligence), Data Management and Software Development - top skills employers are looking for in the technology sector. With 20% of respondents highlighting the need to encourage females into the sector.

The tech industry and the government are already taking steps to close this gap by launching schemes such CyberFirst which is encouraging and supporting young talent into cyber security careers, but there are ways that those passionate about nurturing young people into future careers can help.

girl children using technology and learning in school classroom

What can Schools do?

A study by the Career Colleges Trust, reveals that 66% of young people believe academic grades and league tables are the main focus of our current education system.

Schools could focus more on students, educating them on the numerous career paths available in the tech sector, working with each student individually rather than the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach that 32% of respondents state they experienced.

A fantastic start is to ensure you have researched and understand what skills are required in current and future job markets. Other ways include:

  • Incorporating more STEM based learning and explore how this can be applied in industry.

  • Find role models from known businesses (male and female) and share their story.

  • Apply your student’s current knowledge of tech to job roles. The majority of your students will use the internet and social media, but do they know what or who it takes to create a website or app, how the internet works or how a computer works?

  • Hands on experience. These sessions don’t have to be complicated, even small activities demonstrating the latest technology and how it can be used can help gain the interest of your students.

  • You could even work together with industry partners (or if you’re lucky you may be able to invite a representative to run a session) to create engaging, relevant lessons for your students.

  • Incorporate technology into other subjects. e.g. using Interactive Fiction in English lessons.

  • Explore the advantage of apprenticeships to your students. An apprenticeship is a fantastic way to gain a qualification whilst also gaining hands on experience.

    Companies such as exa.foundation are committed to running inspirational and genuinely useful sessions, either in the classroom for your students or to provide teachers with professional development opportunities. You can attend events or get in touch to organise your own event in your school. These sessions also provide lots of online resources for you to use to your advantage. Why not have a go at coding using Pi-tops with your students or simply share innovative ideas with other teachers at our networking events?

    Take a look at our upcoming events here: https://exa.foundation/upcoming-events/