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UK businesses need a digital overhaul, and apprenticeships could be the answer

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As part of National Apprenticeship Week 2022 (#NAW2022), Professor Keiichi Nakata, Head of Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting at Henley Business School, urges organisations to explore the use of apprenticeships to revitalise their digital mindset.

“Almost every business and organisation is talking about “digital transformation” – there is an expectation that digital development will do magic to the business. Indeed, digital technologies that are emerging as well as those reaching maturity, such as data analytics, Internet of Things, AI and machine learning have the potential to transform businesses through new capabilities and innovation.

“However, where there are many success stories of digital transformation, there are also failures. These failures are often attributed to the lack of alignment between business and digital strategies, but also to the lack of leadership in enabling digital transformation, which involves fostering digital capabilities through training managers and key members of the organisation. Moreover, studies have suggested that while the UK still remains relatively competitive in the digital world, it is being overtaken by other economies, especially in terms of digital mindset.

“This is why degree apprenticeships are increasingly gaining interest to upskill the workforce, ensuring businesses can succeed in their digital transformation. Apprenticeships offer opportunities to develop the leaders who are, or will be, responsible for leading the digital transformations in their organisations. 

“Unlike traditional courses, those studying through an apprenticeship programme can have a direct and often immediate impact on the organisation, as the learning approach and coursework are mostly set in the actual organisational context. This benefits the employers as well as the learners who will achieve a degree that can immediately enhance their career prospects.

“In the near future, digital transformation will no longer be anything special. Digital strategy must be an integral part of the business strategy to remain competitive. An apprenticeship in digital technology solutions can provide a solution to developing a digitally-minded workforce.”

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