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23RD MAR 2021

Gloucestershire College leading the way out of digital skills shortage ‘disaster’

Employer Training and Apprenticeships Latest News
Gloucestershire College leading the way out of digital skills shortage ‘disaster’
Gloucestershire College leading the way out of digital skills shortage ‘disaster’

The UK could face a “catastrophic gap” in digital skills warned a recent report published by the Learning and Work Institute and WorldSkills UK.

Despite the report’s findings – one being that nationally, young people studying IT subjects is declining – Gloucestershire College has again bucked the trend, with an increased demand for its IT, cyber and digital courses and apprenticeships. Student applications for September 2021 starts have significantly grown across the board, with applications for the College’s university level courses – computing and digital degrees, HNCs and HNDs increasing by a massive 143% year on year.

Matthew Burgess, Principal and CEO of Gloucestershire College, commented: 

“We are committed to developing the creators and makers of the future by providing relevant technical education in computing, digital and cyber, which in turn, provides a continuous talent pool to futureproof Gloucestershire businesses.

“I’m delighted and proud that we can support our county and satisfy the significant increase in applications for our digital courses. These will be taught by industry expert staff in state of the art computing classrooms thanks to our £3 million investment from the West of England Institute of Technology. This strategic partnership combining education, research and employers is crucial in continuing to close the digital skills gap and reverse the reports’ national findings.”

The College has already made great headway in this field. Minister for Apprenticeships Gillian Keegan visited the College last September to officially launch its Cyber Degree Apprenticeship, and earlier this year it was awarded the prestigious “Tech Industry Gold” Standard. The College’s excellence in computing degree provision continues to grow from strength to strength. This September sees the start of its IT BSc (Hons) Top up degree pathway – a degree progression route for HNC and HND students; and the new Digital and Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship - all accredited by UWE Bristol, the University of the West of England.

The College’s extensive and quality provision is indeed reassurance for Gloucestershire, given the concern raised in the report’s national findings which proved:

  • The number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE has fallen by 40% since 2015, with the number taking A Levels, further education courses and apprenticeships all declining
  • 88% of young people say digital skills will be essential for their career
  • 60% of employers expect their reliance on advanced digital skills to increase in the next five years
  • 76% of businesses say that a lack of digital skills would affect the profitability of their business

Digital skills are high in demand and this has only been intensified by the impact of the COVID pandemic, with employers struggling to recruit the level of skills they need. However, according to the report, employer investment in training in the UK is low compared to other advanced economies and has declined in recent years.

Julie Tegg, Gloucestershire College’s Director of Employer Training and Apprenticeships says:

“We work closely with hundreds of employers across the county to provide bespoke employee training and apprenticeship programmes across multiple industries. Digital, computing and cyber skills are so important in any industry now – no matter what sector you work in, or how large your company is. Companies are reliant on online strategies to promote their offerings, and in turn, any employer’s website and internal systems could be taken down by hackers. This is a real threat to all and we are here to support employers by providing them with the right training, technical skills and apprentices to both grow digital opportunities, and combat cyber threats.”

If you are an employer looking to recruit new talent for your business or upskill staff, visit: www.gloscol.ac.uk/tech-talent

If you are a student or prospective apprentice, find out more about the College’s IT and computing courses here: www.gloscol.ac.uk/computing