Leader Perspective – Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President, techUK

Throughout the pandemic, we have seen an increase in people recognising the importance of essential digital skills and signalling their interest in acquiring these skills through short online courses.

We need to use this momentum coming out of the pandemic to drive the UK’s digital skills base and build a culture of lifelong learning as there is a growing mismatch in the demand and supply of digital skills in the UK. The aim of FutureDotNow to inspire behavioural change is central to this.

We must not lose sight of the bigger structural shifts that are taking place in the global labour market and in particular the impact of automation. People in education today will enter a labour market that is likely to have been significantly re-shaped by emerging technologies. Concerted action to drive digital skills will future-proof businesses against this and skills shortages that are becoming increasingly prevalent. This presents a large challenge as we do not yet have the infrastructure and resources we need to inspire, direct, retrain and reskill people.

As we work with Government to develop its skills strategies, industry is not standing by.

As well as upskilling and retraining their own staff, companies are looking at how they can open these tools and provide skills to the wider public.

The UK tech sector understands our increasing dependence on digital and that the talent pool needs to be widened. Perhaps most importantly, that nobody should be left behind. Everyone, who wants to, should have the ability and confidence to take advantage of our digital future.