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Digital Skills: Mind The Gap

Posted: Thursday 10 May 2018

Anyone who has seen our annual review and business plan, or even read some of our recent announcements, will know that digital skills is one of the core pillars of our work.

The Jersey Government’s Skills Strategy last year, recommended that a sectorial analysis be done of the supply and demand of digital skills in Jersey. In answer to this we commissioned the University of Exeter to undertake an in-depth review of the skills issues facing our industry. Many of our members took part in this research, from a range of businesses, both large and small.

One of the findings of this Digital Skills Strategy research, is the big gap between what students perceive the digital sector is and the reality of it, ie that it’s not just all about coding.

We have started to spread that message through our Digital Careers brochure which showcases various roles in our industry, and by having the first digital section at the Skills Show last year. We are now stepping up this work with a new Discover Digital Shadow scheme. I have recently given talks to the Highlands BTEC level 3 ICT students, as well as Hautlieu, Victoria College and JCG’s year 12 students, hoping to spread the message about what the digital industry is all about. I was also pleased to have an opportunity to represent the digital industry at the Skills Jersey Work Shadow evening, along with the more traditional sectors of Construction and Finance.

Another area I’ve been pushing for is to encourage more digital opportunities in the Trident work experience scheme.  Fourteen year olds take two or three week work placements and this is an excellent opportunity to sell your company to the future work force. One of our digital members, Codentia, took a Trident student and were so impressed, they ended up employing them over the summer holidays too.

Another recommendation of the government’s Skills Strategy was for the establishment of a Centre of Excellence. We are working towards a Digital Enterprise Academy, but we want people to get involved now. The more hands on our industry is with students, the more engaged and enthusiastic they will be in looking at digital for their careers. I would like to see companies having CSR initiatives which involve staff going into schools and mentoring A level students with their IT projects.  Or offer your young staff to schools where they can give talks and be role models, while also gaining valuable public speaking and inter-personal experience for themselves.

To view the full Skills Strategy click here.

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