Apps for Good and EPAM: Working Together to Bridge the Technology Skills Gap in the UK
The UK technology skills gap is widening. By 2022, it’s estimated that 1.2 million new technical and digitally skilled people will be needed in the UK, but the British Computer Society has warned that the number of students taking computing qualifications will reduce by half by then. The Society predicts that this would be a disaster for the UK economy, and begs the question, “How will we fill this gap?”
It’s not always clear to students how technology skills will affect their future careers, which could be affecting the number of those who take computing classes. But the reality is that digital transformation impacts every career path. A UK government report predicts that within 20 years, 90% of jobs will have a digital element. It’s clear that in the future, digital skills will be essential for performing any job rather than seen solely as a standalone career.
If we want to ensure that children in the UK are not left behind in the new digital economy, it’s essential that they’re given the right opportunities early on, and in a way that inspires them.
Apps for Good is an education technology charity with a mission to unlock the confidence and talent of young people to help them thrive in a tech-driven future. This is one of the many reasons we’re excited to be partnering with EPAM as part of the eKids initiative, which demonstrates the variety of careers available in the technology sector to the next generation.
Through the Apps for Good program, students not only learn vital technical skills, but also the enterprise and employability skills necessary to design, market, pitch and launch products that solve real-world problems. Students learn that, whatever their skills or talent, there is a role for them in the technology industry. This perfectly aligns with EPAM eKids, which teaches young people that working in technology isn’t just about coding, and that the creation of technology products also relies on soft skills, such as creativity and teamwork.
For EPAM, the project sits very well alongside their expertise. On April 20, volunteers from the EPAM UK team will help to bring the Apps for Good project to life at an event in Manchester. The event will bring together the next generation of tech talent from North West England. Students will have the opportunity to showcase their ideas to and receive feedback from EPAM and other industry professionals. The young people will then attend skills workshops run by EPAM volunteers, enabling a deeper understanding of topics, such as design thinking and user experience. At the end of the event, the students will pitch their products in front of a panel to win the prestigious first prize.
Access to inspirational role models from the industry has been a crucial method for engaging students who may not have previously taken an interest in technology. This is where the volunteers from EPAM are able to have the most impact. Five schools from the North West will be attending the event and are looking forward to networking with EPAM employees to get a real insight into what working in the digital sector is really like.