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Next Generation Tech

Posted On - 18/08/2017 14:14:37

The UK is facing a skills shortageWhichever way you look at it there's a problem. The UK is facing a skills shortage - for real. What's startling is it's the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) ones that are suffering. The ones behind innovation and growth in an advanced mature economy.

What's this got to do with IT SMEs? How about under 2% of A-Levels sat in 2016 were in IT? And that teachers feel ill-equipped to advise on careers in today's world of work?

Sounds like IT needs better promoting in schools. And you're ideally placed to help...

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Pilot? Doctor? Postie? Builder? Whichever, what people become is often what they wanted to be when they were small. So how young kids think about jobs and careers matters. Which is why coding clubs are springing up all over – there are nearly 6,000 across the UK.

Coding clubs are just what they say. They teach HTML, CSS, Scratch and Python. So kids can learn how to program games, animations and websites. And they're popular too - over 80,000 kids go to them in the UK. That's impressive. A new generation of coders is being born right now.

Raspberry Pi Foundation

Back in the 1980's you had to know how to program to use a computer. So kids grew up knowing how computers work.

That's fine, but with the digital sector now creating jobs at eight times the rate of any other, the UK needs more programmers than ever. Which is why the Raspberry Pi was created.

If you don't know a Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer with a free operating system. All you need to do is plug in a mouse, a keyboard and connect to a TV or monitor. That's it - you're jamming! That's Raspberry Pi for using a Raspberry Pi. Anything from building a mini camcorder, a tea making machine, cat feeder or internet phone.

Tech Partnership

The tech Partnership is a network of employers collaborating to create skills for the UK digital economy. Their goal? To deliver the skills for one million jobs by 2025.

Be in no doubt about their ambition they're doing this from all angles. Working with schools and colleges, setting apprenticeships standards and degree apprenticeship programmes, and championing basic digital skills initiatives. Lots of big names are involved. The usual suspects like Microsoft, Oracle and IBM along with Jaguar, NetworkRail, Aviva and many others. This is serious stuff.

STEM Ambassadors

While what the big names are doing is great they can't be everywhere helping everyone. Not everyone can go to a coding club or has accessto a Raspberry Pi.

Que STEM Ambassadors. 30,000 volunteers, 17-70 years old, from over 2,500 different employers. They're engineers, scientists and - you guessed it - IT people giving their time, enthusiasm and experiences to help teachers and inspire young people to achieve more and progress further in STEM subjects.

Becoming a STEM Ambassador is straightforward. It does involve a DBS check – useful if you want to do IT work with schools – but apart from that you just need to support one event in 12 months. Not that difficult no?

Next generation tech

The digital skills gap is real. In a world increasingly reliant on data and tech it could seriously compromise UK plc. While you can argue and debate what the state should do and otherwise, all it takes for the triumph of failure is for good people to let it happen.

Becoming a STEM Ambassador is your chance to give something back to education and the wider community, whilst giving you the chance to develop your own skills and improve yourself. STEM Ambassadors will be at the Target 2017 Open Day. Why not come along and find out how you could help? Register here.

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