THE BLOG

UK Skills Gap Is Strangling the Economy

26/06/2014 12:24 BST | Updated 26/08/2014 10:59 BST

Technology. It has become so commonplace in every aspect of our lives that most of us now take it for granted. It is unsurprising then that the IT skills gap which is plaguing the UK has found its way into Parliamentary discussion, with Ed Miliband stating the IT industry is being 'let down' by the current skills shortage.

David Cameron has got in on the action too; pushing for international technology experts to be given fast-tracked visas so they can work in the UK and boost the country's work landscape, warning the issue has now surpassed the UK border and has become an international concern.

Worryingly, City Lifeline research has shown this may just be the start of the problem. Almost a third of UK senior IT personnel believe IT equipment has become more complex than five years ago. It's likely this trend will continue and could have a huge impact on the technology industry in this country.

The gap is increasing

As the IT skills gap continues to increase, businesses will rightly become more and more worried about their ability to grow. To expand and flourish, organisations need to increase their workforce and with signs showing the UK is out of recession, businesses should now be aiming to use this as a spearhead towards rapid growth. However, the current skills gap is forcing business leaders to rethink their plans as the skilled workers required are simply not out there.

The question is; how can we fight back against the skills gap? As a country we must invest in IT training from the bottom up. It's no secret that technology changes by the day and we must nurture the talent found in our education systems and in the workplace to enable steady progression in this area.

This country has some of the best universities in the world and to think that we aren't producing enough skilled IT workers is a very worrying trend that must be changed before it is too late.

Government must act now

The government is investing in education, with £194 million to be spent on state of the art college facilities, and this is hopefully just the start of a much larger process. This isn't enough though. A staggering 146,200 job vacancies were left unfilled last year due to inadequate skills; a rise of almost sixty per cent on the year before.

I believe the only way to truly close the IT skills gap is to invest directly into technology education; increasing the quality and number of facilities as well as improving the training of teachers and lecturers specialising in IT. This has to be rolled out across the board, at our schools, colleges and universities while increasing the number of apprenticeship schemes available to those interested in a career in the IT industry.

If we fail to invest in education, UK businesses will cease to develop and we could be back in recession before the celebrations are over.