It’s not just the digital skills gap we need to worry about

Sep 14, 2017 | News

It’s been a long time since I was at college, but I couldn’t help notice this year’s results over the summer, especially with the announcement that just 9.8% of students on A Level computing courses were girls.

That’s a shockingly low number and reinforces again the lack of female presence in the tech sector. If young women aren’t embracing computing and digital now, then that’s going to have a big impact on the workforce of the future.

I’m amazed that, at a time when we have a severe skills gap on our hands, we still aren’t nurturing prospective workers to see the amazing opportunities that lie ahead for those arming themselves with digital skills. We have to encourage young women to play a role in this, mapping out brilliant careers for themselves in the process.

The bigger stats worry me too; out of all this year’s A Level results students, just 7,600 young people across the country studied computing – that’s going to have a worrying and lasting legacy in the tech sector for a long time to come.

Bill Mitchell, a director at the IT Chartered Institute BCS, thinks we should be seeing around 40,000 students taking computing at A Level each year – it’s scary how far behind that target we are.

I hope that we can address this as business leaders with the support of the education sector, so that we fully embrace the brilliant potential talent – both male and female – in our schools right now. These people will work in a completely digitised world and we need to arm them properly to do it.

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