An interim review focusing on the skills and educational needs of the Jersey workforce, both current and future, is published today. The review, commissioned jointly by Skills Jersey and Digital Jersey, aims to help both organisations formulate the strategies necessary to diversify the local economy and generate jobs.
The report will now be circulated to interested parties for their comment prior to the final version being presented shortly. Key findings from the interim report include:
- Only 16 per cent of digital professionals are female;
- More than 50 per cent of digital professionals are educated to degree level;
- As in the United Kingdom, IT qualifications are failing to deliver sufficient young people into the workplace with the skills to fill the roles that will be created by the digital industry;
- Jersey, like most developed countries, sees its IT qualifications lagging behind the needs of the digital industry;
- There are 28,000 regular users of IT in the workplace. Evidence suggests that better use of IT would help raise productivity levels to those seen elsewhere; and
- Each year 25 students start university courses in ICT or computing.
This is less than half of the current needs of the digital industry. Commenting on the report, Richard Plaster, chairman of Jersey’s Skills Board emphasised that this was a starting point for the work of both Digital Jersey and Skills Jersey. “If Jersey is going to create a digitally enabled economy, it is clear that we will need a skilled, experienced and motivated workforce, supported by a population which is comfortable getting the most out of digital tools both at work and at home. This interim report reviews not only the skills held by traditional I.T. specialists, but also people within new and exciting industries. It is also about the Island as a whole embracing the Digital age, with everybody being keen and able to use Digital tools in everyday life and every day at work.
The report identifies a number of areas which will require attention, from the qualifications available for young people to how a greater number of people can be introduced into the industry. Of particular note are the opportunities significantly to improve the productivity of the Island’s workforce by developing skills in the use of IT. Coupled to this has to be a clear understanding from the Island’s business leaders of how IT can improve their businesses and give access into new and exciting markets.”
Paul Masterton, the newly appointed chairman of Digital Jersey Limited commented: “This report is a welcome first step towards understanding the challenges that we have ahead as a newly formed industry body. The role of Digital Jersey is to develop and promote Jersey as a location of choice for digital business, with the objective of diversifying the local economy and generating jobs, so it is vital that we understand our starting point. Working alongside government and industry, we will now begin coordinating activities that will improve the environment for digital business in Jersey, including skills development, technical innovation and research, while leveraging Jersey’s existing advantages including; its competitive tax base, excellent legal system, good infrastructure, strong public finances, high quality workforce and world-class finance sector. “