‘Buoyant’ tech industry must continue to attract talent during pandemic, says skills agency digital chair

Ross Tuffee was recently appointed as the new chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group, an SDS, industry and public sector partnership created to promote digital skills in Scotland. In his first column for FutureScot he talks about the importance of bringing new blood into the tech sector. 

The current pandemic has focused the mind and fast forwarded our future, as we now rely on digital technology and associated skills far more than ever before.

Despite the many and unprecedented economic (and health) challenges, the tech industry remains buoyant, playing a critical role in our recovery, with many employers looking to add to the digital skills base of their organisation

But what might get lost during the current crisis is the need to continue to attract new talent into the industry, and the provision of the training and support that new blood needs to help us – and you – fill the skills gap in tech.

Employing and training new starts can sometimes be time-consuming and costly, however, apprenticeships offer an ideal solution to these issues. With apprenticeships, you get financial help to bring in young, passionate and motivated talent that can bring fresh eyes and energy to your business, and because they can hit the ground running, they can contribute to your bottom line very quickly as they immediately put into practice what they learn.

With double-digit-percentage growth in those taking up Modern Apprenticeships, and momentum building in both Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, many employers are seeing the advantages of taking on an apprentice to help build their business and grow their talent pipeline.

And apprenticeships are not just for new starts. Work-based learning can also be used for upskilling and reskilling existing staff. So, if jobs are changing then a tech apprenticeship can upskill/reskill someone from one role to another while allowing you to keep the wider knowledge that person has of your business.

There are apprenticeship frameworks, designed specifically with industry in mind, for data analysts, cyber security specialists, software developers, creative media types, digital marketing and IT.

I guarantee there will be an apprenticeship and apprentice out there that is right for your business.

Covid has thrown us some real challenges, and the tech sector has been quick to respond. The No One Left Behind digital campaign and Scotland’s Tech Army being just two examples of this, but we need to make sure we take this approach and momentum into our businesses, and continue developing a culture of diversity and opportunity.

New talent and new skills can help with that, and help us through this uncertain future. Apprentices bring a breath of fresh air, enhance productivity and aid staff retention – as well as future proofing your business – so what are you waiting for?

Visit apprenticeships.scot or get in touch with Skills Development Scotland to find out more.