FS Fives: Tuesday, July 26

Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.

First up, Openreach, the broadband division of BT, has been ordered to become a separate company within the telecoms giant in a bid to boost investment and improve poor service to customers.

Communications regulator Ofcom has ordered a legal separation of the entity rather than a full breakup of the company in order to give Openreach more independence, with its own board, an independent chairman and its own brand.

The regulator stopped short of ordering BT to sell Openreach owing to the long, drawn out process a sale would entail. Rivals including Sky and Talk Talk have both cast doubts over the proposed new arrangements, arguing for a full sale over fears BT will still have control over Openreach coffers.

However, Ofcom has laid the groundwork for further competition with other broadband providers (BT still owns most of the cabling ducts and poles), and on Sunday (31 July), new rules come into force that will give telecoms firms further rights to access physical infrastructure.

Sharon White, Ofcom Chief Executive, said: “We’re pressing ahead with the biggest shake-up of telecoms in a decade, to make sure the market is delivering the best possible services for people and business across the UK.”

Data science bursary

Specialist tech recruitment firm MBN Solutions is offering a £7,000 place on a new course being run by The Data Lab in Edinburgh.

Places on the much-anticipated three-week course, which takes place in September, is aimed at upskilling those with raw analytical grounding into bona fide data scientists. The boot camp will be delivered by Dr Michael Li, who runs the Data Incubator in New York, and is part of a national drive to plug a tech skills gap and to maximise the business opportunities that harnessing the potential of data science can bring.

Michael Young, CEO of MBN Solutions, said: “With the average cost of recruiting a data scientist £15,000, the Boot Camp presents an incredible opportunity to upskill current staff and invest in your company’s data science offering.

“The Data Incubator is recognised as the go-to experts in the data training sector globally and, by sponsoring a place for a budding data scientist, we are helping to enhance Scotland’s pipeline of data science talent.”

Mastering digital

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is running a series of meet ups to encourage citizens to be more digitally active.

During August and September the One Digital programme will be delivering a series of short, engaging sessions taking a closer look at many of the digital tools, platforms and learning approaches to help champions feel even more inspired to fulfil their digital ambitions.

Since February 2016 the One Digital team has been on tour, bringing digital participation to third sector organisations, staff and volunteers.

With the help of 32 local anchor organisations across Scotland it has delivered sessions from Dumfries to Inverness, and on to Stornoway, Kirkwall and Lerwick.

Some useful stats…and careers options

It seems like we’re always getting bombarded by stats, many of them not that useful. So it’s refreshing when some genuinely interesting insights are pulled together in a clear and concise manner. These figures, put together by myworldofwork.co.uk, give a very good overview of the tech industry in Scotland, and act as a useful guide to anyone considering a career in the sector. With 80,000 people already working in the tech sector, and an average salary of £35,000, the industry is also forecast to grow a further 15% by 2020; the site indicates that job growth areas include software development, software engineering and web development. Employers are also recruiting in other areas such as information and cyber security and data analytics, says the website.

On a less positive note a recent survey undertaken by the CBI in association with Pearson has indicated that Scottish firms are will struggle to recruit people for highly skilled roles.

In a survey of 186 businesses in Scotland, 86% said they were not confident about future recruitment.

A majority of companies (70%) said they believed they would need more people with leadership and management talent.

Many businesses reported dissatisfaction with educational standards of school or college leavers – with 26% concerned by literacy and 25% unhappy with the basic numeracy displayed.

The CBI said one key concern was the planned Apprenticeship Levy, which will be charged to UK employers to fund new apprenticeships.

And finally….

What’s that, you say? My personal mobile phone data is being sold by criminals on the dark web?

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