The committee asserts that the UK risks being left behind if the Government does not take more action to address the digital skills crisis.
David Evans, BCS director of policy, says: ‘The digital skills gap is a serious issue. We know first-hand from our work with employers, schools and universities that more needs to be done. While we appreciate that Government is trying to fix the problems, we believe that it needs to find systemic ways of continuously improving both quality and quantity of graduates, apprenticeships and teachers if they hope to succeed. Government also needs to ensure it is playing the most constructive role it canin enabling industry, universities and schools to collaborate effectively.’
BCS submitted evidence to the committee recommending the following three key areas that need to be addressed in order for the UK to begin to overcome the looming digital skills crisis:
• An urgent need for more outstanding computing graduates from our world leading universities. We estimate there is demand from industry for at least twice as many high quality computing graduates than we presently produce.
• An urgent need for more outstanding apprenticeships in our world leading companies. We estimate we need to increase the present number by a factor of three.
• An urgent need for many more outstanding computing teachers in our schools.
Bill Mitchell, Director of Education at BCS explains: ‘We currently have a shortfall of 2000 computing teachers in secondary school compared to 2012 levels, less than 25% of computing teachers have a computing related degree, and 40% of computing teachers received no professional development from their school last year. Providing digital skills to the population as a whole requires all schools be good at teaching computing. Providing professional development to computing teachers must be a top priority.’