Interesting to read yesterday’s article on Freelance Supermarket, which prophecies that apprenticeships may threaten the future of outsourcing for specialist requirements. Today, we learn that the government is taking yet further action to engender much needed skills into young hopefuls immediately after their full time education.
We’ve spoken at length about the growing skills gap facing many industry sectors here in the UK. IT is the obvious skill businesses lack to take them forward. Those who’ve followed and studied the development in information systems are now reaping the rewards.
The pickings may be rich for IT contractors now. But the introduction of tech levels may see IT (to the level businesses can use) instilled as a core subject in post-secondary school education.
Learning IT should be as easy as A-B-C
ReThink Recruitment certainly see the possibilities of offering tech-levels as a viable alternative in further education for 16-19 year olds. And it’s not difficult to see why.
Prior to the open-source nature of the Android platform, IT studies were the provenance of the geek. It’s not so nowadays. Learning to code, build apps, use other people’s platforms as a basis for your own – learning to do so is all available online, often for free.
It’s perhaps this reason that firms like Microsoft and Siemens are backing the UK curriculum’s introduction of tech levels.
Google (or now, Alphabet) has stolen a march on its competition. From data-parsing, organisation and understanding of that data (see: Knowledge Graph) and even AI, the Mountain View, California company is a magnet for the best of the best.
With more input from the business community, tech-levels could be a real opportunity for UK firms to compete on a global basis.
Protecting more than your IP address
There is, of course, a downside for contractors. The more their specialist subject becomes more commonplace, the more competitive the marketplace will become. It’s important that those promoting IT-for-all understand the value that its students will add to the economy.
Too many freelance and contract skills haven’t had this protection. Writing, for instance, has become a globally-sourced commodity. Anyone with a basic grasp of English can offer their services as a writer. Social media marketing is heading the same way.
But it’s important to understand that not all content is equal. The same as not all IT professionals will be as proficient as those who’ve studied its nuances over time.
It’s great that the curriculum is looking to fill the skills gap. But with the promotion of apprenticeships too, one has to wonder: at what price?.