From education to employment

Bridging the IT Skills Gap and Seizing Opportunities

Helen Maxwell Voices

In the last few years, we have witnessed a global influx of technological advancements that have progressed faster than anticipated, leading to a significant IT skills gap.

Helen Maxwell, UK Business Development Manager at NCC Education, recently addressed this pressing issue and emphasised what educators and employers need to do to bridge the gap. Businesses across various sectors, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, and retail, are seeking skilled individuals proficient in software development, cybersecurity, data analysis, and digital marketing. The rise of remote work and digital transformation initiatives has further accelerated this demand, underscoring the need for a workforce equipped with advanced IT skills.

Recognising the critical importance of addressing the IT skills gap, educational institutions across England are stepping up to support employers by offering relevant qualifications and training programs. Among these institutions, Buxton and Leek College, part of the University of Derby stands out for its proactive approach to bridging the gap. Advanced manufacturing exemplifies the growing reliance on technology.

Companies are adopting automation, robotics, and digital manufacturing techniques to streamline operations and boost efficiency. Consequently, there is an urgent need for engineers and technicians with a strong foundation in these areas. Similarly, the healthcare sector is increasingly dependent on digital solutions to enhance patient care and streamline administrative processes. Professionals with expertise in health informatics, telemedicine, and cybersecurity are essential to ensure the smooth integration of these technologies.

NCC Education Accredited Partner Centre Buxton and Leek College has recognised the growing demand for IT professionals and is actively addressing the skills gap through a range of targeted programmes. Starting soon, the college will be delivering  NCC Education’s Level 4 Diploma in Computing with Business Management course in September.

This programme is designed to equip students with both technical IT skills and essential business management knowledge, ensuring they are well-rounded and highly attractive to local employers.

Shane Beckensall, Curriculum Leader of Technology at Buxton & Leek College, speaking about the upcoming Diploma, said,

“We are really pleased to be working with NCC to deliver this new and exciting course at our Buxton Campus from September 2024. This is a great opportunity for adults to upskill to meet the needs of employers”.

In addition to catering to learners, Buxton and Leek College and other educational institutions in England are also focusing on individuals looking to change careers. As technology continues to evolve, many professionals are seeking to upskill or reskill to remain competitive in the job market. The Level 4 Computing with Business Management course, along with other flexible learning options, accommodates the needs of career changers.

The emphasis on lifelong learning is particularly important as people are staying in the workforce longer. Continuous professional development is essential to ensure that older workers can adapt to new technologies and remain valuable contributors to their organizations. Short courses and certifications in emerging IT fields enable these individuals to stay current with industry trends and advancements.

To bridge the IT skills gap, individuals need to develop expertise in the following areas:

  • Software development
  • Cybersecurity
  • Data analysis
  • Digital Marketing
  • Health informatics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automation and robotics
  • Digital manufacturing techniques

The collaboration between employers and educational institutions in England is vital to bridging the IT skills gap. By working together, they can create a talent pipeline that meets the current and future needs of the region’s economy. Employers must actively engage with educational providers, like Buxton and Leek College, offering insights into industry requirements and participating in curriculum development.

Investment in education and training is essential to ensuring that England remains competitive in an increasingly digital world. By equipping individuals with the necessary skills and fostering a culture of continuous learning, the region can harness the full potential of technological advancements and drive sustainable economic growth.

In conclusion, the growing need for IT professionals in England presents both a challenge and an opportunity. Through collaborative efforts between employers and educational institutions like Buxton and Leek College, the region can address the skills gap and build a robust, future-ready workforce. This concerted approach will not only benefit businesses and individuals but also contribute to the overall prosperity and resilience of England’s economy.

By Helen Maxwell, UK Business Development Manager at NCC Education

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