|Home-grown talent is an essential element for long-term success|
Update on the latest AI skills and talent initiatives being joint-funded by industry & government.
Combined government & industry investment of £370m will deliver 2,700 new AI PhD places in the UK - 1,700 of these PhD places have been allocated to advance discoveries in bioscience and tackle challenges like feeding the world’s growing population while helping people stay healthier, for longer.
At the Autumn AI Skills and Talent Initiatives event there was a strong emphasis on the importance of diversity. Minister for Digital & Broadband, Matt Warman highlighted the need for diverse ideas and representation to ensure tech works for everyone.
It is important that these new courses are “student-centric” and support individuals that may have had a negative experience of education so far. Currently in the UK there’s a 13% gap between the chances of white and BAME students getting a first or upper second degree, even when other factors are controlled for. We need to better understand why this is the case and what can be done to mitigate this difference.
Technology and online learning can be part of the solution but we also need to ensure that these jobs are made available in regions outside of London. As Jacqueline de Rojas, techUK President highlighted, by 2022, there will be 1.2m unfilled jobs in the tech sector. Regional engagement will have an important role to play in filling these jobs. In industry alone 93% of UK tech companies say that the lack of digital skills available is affecting their commercial operations.
techUK is calling for a skills brokerage platform, a single, centralised platform where individuals can find information on skills pathways, current schemes/courses available to them at the national & local level and relevant job opportunities. Stakeholders, such as the Institute of Coding and Data Skills Taskforce, are currently conducting some pilots in this area. It’s important that, alongside government, we join together to make this concept a reality.