Tech industry urged to support IT apprenticeships to boost digital skills

BCS wants more industry input to encourage a hands-on approach to digital skills

BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT, has called for the technology industry to channel money into the creation of more IT apprenticeships.

The organisation said that apprenticeship schemes are vital in encouraging more young people into IT careers and to plug the UK’s digital skills gap.

Adam Thilthorpe, director of policy, professionalism and public affairs at BCS, told V3: “There are some good schemes in place but I think we need many more. There is not enough money being spent on encouraging people to say that this is a really good way of getting into work.”

Thilthorpe added that the technology industry needs to present IT as an attractive career for young people and explain there are several ways to enter the profession.

“This is another intervention to try and make sure people are aware of [apprenticeships] as a choice. We want people who’ve got computer science, business and IT degrees, but we also need other talent coming through from other means,” he said.

“Apprenticeships are a vital part of that landscape to make sure we get talent at all levels and from diverse sectors and communities. Getting that pipeline of talent into the profession is vitally important.”

BCS also revealed it is one of the assessment organisations supporting the Digital Industry Trailblazer apprenticeships standards set up by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The standards are designed to simplify apprentice schemes and make them more suitable for employers’ requirements.

The Trailblazer scheme is aligned with the Professional Registration of IT Technicians, which will be launched by BCS and the Gatsby Foundation later this year.

Applicants who are awarded an IT Trailblazer apprenticeship will then be eligible to apply for a place on the professional register as an IT technician.

Thilthorpe also wants more IT companies to support the initiatives. “I’d like to see employers get behind the Trailblazer schemes and the Professional Registration of IT Technicians and grow the influence of this profession,” he said.

BCS recently joined Google, Ofcom and teachers in raising concerns about the UK’s digital skills gap.

Liz Bacon, BCS president, told V3 that more people could be encouraged into the technology profession by addressing society’s view of IT workers as “unwashed nerds”.

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9 March 2015 | 1:58 pm – Source: v3.co.uk

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