IT Apprenticeships Bridging Tech Skills Gap

An empty customer support office. A result of the Tech Skills Gap?

The impact of the skills gap on the IT sector

According to the Open University, the lack of skilled available workers is costing companies around £2.2 billion a year in higher salaries and temporary resourcing.

The British Chambers of Commerce found 52% of firms say that skills shortages are increasing the workload for existing staff – which only further disrupts productivity.

Those that choose university can, in certain industries, graduate with skills that no longer match the world of work. Deloitte found that just 12% of graduates have enough digital skills – down from 20%.

In 2016, IBM prophesised that the digital skills gap would stifle the growth of the tech industry not only due to the lack of existing talent, but a failure to keep up with the growing demand.

How Government is addressing tech skills gap

One in 10 job-seekers in the UK’s Tech industry is foreign, according to Indeed. So, while the uncertainty surrounding Brexit has had a small effect on the digital talent available, the solution lies within the UK workforce.

The government set up the Digital Inclusion Strategy in 2016, to combat the issue of fundamental digital skills. But this initiative was focused on providing essential skills to the general population and didn’t directly address those entering the UK’s workforce.

The Apprenticeship Levy followed, coming into effect in April of 2017, partly as a reboot to the existing system, but also largely to offer organisations a new framework to fill the skills gaps that they faced.

Success of apprenticeships utilising the levy to find IT talent

Apprenticeships are already a proven solution to filling the digital skills gap. Amazon recently pledged to create more than 1,000 apprenticeship roles before 2021, showing confidence in the levy as a means of filling their skills gaps.

Just IT recently worked with the IDE Group, an IT Manager Service Provider, supporting them on using their levy to source new talent.

Diana Chance – Onsite Services Manager – IDE Group

It can be challenging to find talented people in the IT and Technology sector. Here at IDE we have utilised the Apprenticeship Levy to hire great people and get the skills we required in our teams. It’s been a really crucial part of our talent acquisition strategy and a very cost effective way to add value to our capabilities.”

The structure of a 3-4-year university degree means that graduates enter the workforce with skills that are slightly outdated in the world of Tech, often without the critical workplace experience they’ll need to attract the attention of employers.

But apprenticeships typically take 14 months to complete depending on the chosen pathway, and with the added element of on-the-job training and experience, apprentices contribute more value to the business – faster.

Another IT provider, Virtual IT, also found using apprenticeships a cost effective way to bring in the skills they required for their business.

Virtual IT internet services

Toby Wakelin – COO – Virtual IT

“As an IT Managed Services Provider, it is crucial that we have talented people with technical and soft skills to deliver for our clients. Finding the right people is always a challenge. Our apprenticeship programme has worked really well for us at bringing in new talent we can develop with the existing team, while our partnership with Just IT brings the benefit of delivering the external training and certification our apprentices need to thrive in a competitive IT market.”

According to Reed, 85% of apprentices stay in full-time employment after completing their programme, of which 64% stay with their current employer – so retention of talent is higher than the average for hires.

If you are looking for more information on how the apprenticeship levy can be utilised to bridge your tech skills gaps, contact our team on 020 7426 9810 or email bruces@justit.co.uk 

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