THE BLOG

Why Tech Skills Are So Valuable for Future Careers and Developing Home Grown Talent

18/06/2014 13:49 BST | Updated 13/08/2014 10:59 BST

The changes to the way in which IT and computing is taught in the UK is changing from September, when coding will become part of the curriculum for the first time. This is a welcome step toward ensuring that British schoolchildren are equipped for the modern workplace, where digital literacy is increasingly essential. The new curriculum will also teach students that computing is about more than simply developing excellent technical skills. It's about problem solving, system design, conceptual thinking and an understanding of design and aesthetics.

The students that graduate from schools, colleges and universities in the coming years will be better educated and more adept at computational thinking than their predecessors. The best and brightest will be looking for stimulating employment opportunities and projects like Connecting Tech City will be vital in helping them find careers that match their levels of skill and ambition.

Why Macmillan Science and Education is supporting Connecting Tech City

London is home to the biggest cluster of digital businesses in Europe. TechCity UK estimates that the number of digital firms across London grew from 50,000 to 88,000 from 2009-2012. The biggest cluster of growth is in East London, and yet this is still one of the poorest areas of the United Kingdom. It's a similar story in Kings Cross and Islington, Tech City's near neighbours, where Macmillan has had a presence for almost twenty years. The Kings Cross £2bn regeneration effort has attracted a raft of technology companies including Facebook and Google. But levels of deprivation in our neighbourhood are still high; Islington, for example, has London's second highest level of child poverty.

This is why London's Tech City community has decided to come together in a drive to connect technology firms with local young people from East London boroughs. "Connecting Tech City" is a crowd funded initiative which will help young people and companies find the opportunities that Tech City has to offer. At Macmillan Science and Education we think it is great idea and have just matched existing funding with a donation that takes it to around a quarter of its £50,000 target. We hope other larger technology companies will get involved.

Connecting Tech City will help young people find careers that match their levels of skill and ambition. But it's also good for the growing technology companies when demand for the best technology staff is rising exponentially and where currently much of the talent is coming from outside of local inner city boroughs. Providing a way of linking the talent within the local community with the experience and opportunities that companies can offer is extremely important.

We know from our own experience that it's vital to attract, train and retain a new generation of employees, with new skills, particularly in the field of technology. At the same time we are finding, as others are, that demand for the best coders, programmers and designers is rising exponentially. As things stand, much of that talent is coming from outside of our local inner city boroughs, leaving a pool of untapped talent.

So we feel that providing a way of linking the talent around us within the local community with the experience and opportunities that both large and small companies can offer is extremely important. That's why we are supporting Connecting Tech City and why we think initiatives like these are vital if we are to nurture the skills base companies like ours will need to prosper and grow.

Find out more about Connecting Tech City and donate here.