The skills gap is a major issue facing the IT sector, and while there’s no instant fix, the government has pledged £120 million to help alleviate the problem.
That £120 million will go towards eight new institutes of technology, which will join the existing 12 locations that deliver higher level technical training at level 4 and 5 in STEM subjects. The subjects key areas within the IT sector, such as digital skills and AI, all areas where we’re not seeing enough skilled workers.
The funding was announced by education secretary Gavin Williamson, who proclaimed that he would like to see an institute of technology in every major city in the UK. This comes as the current UK government, led by Boris Johnson, promises a big investment in the technology sector to help the UK lead in areas such as AI.
In addition to the new institutes of technology, Williamson also committed government funds towards the opening of 11 maths-focused free schools, while he also announced a new skills and productivity board. This board will provide the government with expert advice on how to ensure the courses and qualifications on offer to students are high-quality and aligned to the skills that employers will need in the future.
Speaking of the education secretary’s announcement, Matthew Fell, CBI chief UK policy director, noted, “Investment in education and skills is the foundation stone of a prosperous economy and the most important factor in closing regional divides. The CBI has been calling for investment and reform of our skills system to put centre stage. The Education Secretary is right to make colleges and further education a top priority.
“Today’s announcement, coming hot on the heels of further funding announced in the Spending Review, shows the Government is rising to the challenge.”
On the £120 million additional investment for up to eight new Institutes of Technology, Fell said: "Expanding high-quality technical education and training is a top priority for employers who will welcome this extra investment. By bringing firms, colleges and higher education together, these Institutes can open the door to great careers or further training.”