Select Committee on Digital Skills - Report of Session 2014–15

Make or Break: The UK’s Digital Future

Chapter 3: Fostering and developing talent

Part I: Digital ability levels

“There is a lack of appreciation of the importance of digital skills to all jobs.”185—Research Councils UK (RCUK)

84.To enable the UK to be at the forefront of working with and producing technologies, there are skill requirements that spread much further than digital literacy. The UK Digital Skills Taskforce in its recent review of the digital economy provided a helpful framework of the different skill levels that would be required “across the labour market and citizenry in general”,186 defining three broad tiers of digital skills.

85.The UK Forum for Computing Education (UKForCE)187 used this framework to analyse of the 361 Standard Occupation Codes (SOCs),188 which cover the entire estimated 30 million people employed in the UK (see Box 9).189

Box 9: Digital skill level categories

‘Digital muggle’: 2.2 million people (7% of the workforce); “… no digital skills required—digital technology may as well be magic”.

‘Digital citizen’: 10.8 million people (37% of the workforce); “… the ability to use digital technology purposefully and confidently to communicate, find information and purchase goods/services”.

‘Digital worker’: 13.6 million people (46% of the workforce); “… at the higher end, the ability to evaluate, configure and use complex digital systems. Elementary programming skills such as scripting are often required for these tasks”.

‘Digital maker’: 2.9 million people (10% of the workforce); “… skills sufficient to build digital technology (typically software development)”.190

86.This analysis demonstrates that almost everyone in the workforce will soon need as a minimum the skills identified in the ‘digital citizen’ band to do their job. Over half of the workforce will require skills significantly beyond those necessary at the lower level, with at least 10% of them as experts (‘digital makers’).191 Of high-level skills (‘digital makers’), both the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and NIACE said that the UK economy would need at least 300,000 recruits to invent and apply new technologies.192

87.When analysing the different levels of digital skills required, we find the UK Digital Skills Taskforce’s three-band definition (‘digital citizens’, ‘digital workers’ and ‘digital makers’) to be useful, along with the UK Forum for Computing Education’s application of the definitions to the workforce.

Part II: Medium- and high-level skills

88.We received extensive evidence showing the UK has a significant medium- and high-level skills shortage now, holding the digital economy back from reaching its full potential.193 This evidence ranged from individuals, industry and third sector organisations, to educational institutions and the Government.

89.The UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC also highlighted how technological developments had created new skills needs and, with those, new opportunities. For example, a report by e-skills UK194 for SAS195 projected that there could be 132,000 job opportunities in Big Data over the next five years.196 Increasing the number of digital ‘workers’ and ‘makers’ at the medium- to high-level could therefore drive the UK to a leading position in the global economy.

90.Over time, this need for skilled workers will grow, with the digital workforce alone expected to increase by 39% by 2030.197

91.In addition to the UK’s domestic skills shortage, the Guardian Media Group during our visit in September 2014 (see Appendix 8) told us that there was a strong draw for talent from the large technology companies in the USA (for example, Google, Microsoft, IBM and Facebook), indicating that the UK’s most highly-skilled workers were being attracted abroad. We discuss the issue of immigration in Part IV of this Chapter, in paragraphs 205–218.

92.There is a shortage of medium- and high-level digital skills in the UK. This needs immediate attention if the UK is to remain competitive globally. To keep ahead of the international competition, the UK must ensure it has the necessary pool of digitally-skilled graduates and others at the higher level (the ‘digital makers’), to support and drive research and innovation throughout the whole economy. The long-term solution to the shortage of medium- and high-level skills requires action at all levels of the ‘talent pipelineprimary, secondary, further and higher level education.

Part III: Future-proofing our young people

Broadening skillsets

93.Our evidence was unanimous that employers were looking for an ever widening skillset. In addition to high levels of numeracy and literacy, employers were looking for a mix of technical, creative and social skills.198

94.The Government’s Industrial Strategy199 incorporates the need to integrate these skills within business, and a broader skillset will be important for the future workforce to remain responsive to industry needs, as industry adapts to the growth of automation. Indeed, a recent report from Deloitte found that “jobs requiring creativity and social skills are not susceptible to automation”, nor are jobs which “require a high level of perception and manipulation”.200 Consequently, there is a need for integrating topics such as creativity, social and business skills, and entrepreneurship, within the education and training sector.


“We want young people to be not only consumers of technology, but also creators and makers.”201—Apps for Good202

95.We received substantial evidence that one of the UK’s competitive strengths exists in its creative industries.203 Statistics from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) show the creative industries accounted for 1.68 million jobs in 2012, 5.6% of the total number of jobs in the UK; and employment in the sector increased by 8.6% between 2011 and 2012, a significantly higher increase than for the UK economy as a whole (which increased by 0.7%).204 Research by the CBI identified the creative industries as one of the fastest growing sectors in the UK.205

96.We were told that more employers were looking for creativity alongside technical skills.206 Innovate UK207, for example, told us of “evidence that successful digital companies now ‘fuse’ the technical and creative skills of their staff”.208 A number of witnesses suggested expanding the ‘STEM’ package to include art (‘STEAM’), or even art, entrepreneurship and design (‘STEAMED’) to meet this change.209 This is in line with a recent study from Nesta210, showing that creativity is important in a wide range of occupations, including for architects, broadcasting professionals, journalists and editors, librarians and public relations professionals.211

97.Creativity is a strength of the UK’s economy. Digital education that fosters creativity and innovation, providing students with the opportunity to test and experiment with technology, will help support this.

Primary and secondary schools

“… there is enormous raw capability in young people … every business that wants an online presence would benefit from that capability if we could polish it up. If we could introduce that into our school system … that would transform productivity of businesses.”212—Karen Price OBE, on behalf of the Tech Partnership

98.There was consensus that the long-term solution to the medium- and high-level skills shortage (digital ‘workers’ and ‘makers’) lies in the ‘talent pipeline’—namely, primary, secondary, further and higher level education. Our evidence was clear that numeracy and literacy remain foundations of the UK’s education system, and of the digital economy.213 Evidence from the OECD indicated a correlation between digital skills and numeracy and literacy, particularly among the younger generation.214 David Hughes from NIACE told us: “People with literacy and numeracy problems often have poor health understanding and poor financial skills, and they nearly always have poor digital skills as well.”215 Increasing literacy and numeracy levels could therefore have a positive effect on digital literacy.

99.The UK has a weak track record in skills.216 For instance, Mr Hughes said: “… we have been talking about literacy and numeracy for 100 years but we still have not cracked it”.217 Now is the time to improve numeracy and literacy to enable the UK to make the most of the digital opportunity.

100.Those who are not numerate and literate have limited access to and use of digital technologies. The UK has a long-standing systemic weakness in numeracy and literacy. It is imperative we continue to increase national levels of these core subjects to enable the UK to seize the opportunities that digital offers.

101.Introduction of the new computing curriculum in England in September 2014 (whereby children throughout primary and secondary education will be taught how to code) was broadly welcomed.218 Witnesses believed it would not only have a positive impact on STEM take-up at further and higher education, but would increase digital capability among the general population.

102.Computing and ICT education provision varies across England and the devolved administrations. Scotland includes computing in its curriculum, but computer science is not yet taught or perceived in schools on a par with other sciences (biology, chemistry and physics).219 Wales and Northern Ireland do not currently include computer coding and programming as part of their curriculums. The Welsh Government is currently carrying out a review of its own curriculum.220

103.The evidence showed a strong consensus on the need for digital literacy to be embedded within the curriculum not just as a separate subject, but as a third core subject underpinning all others.221 UKForCE said: “A good computing education at school is in many ways akin to the 3 Rs. It is a deep skill which will be necessary to exploit fully the new digital environment as it continues to change at a remarkable speed.”222 The Minister of State for Culture and the Digital Economy, Ed Vaizey MP, agreed. He said: “It is part of the skillset that you really should be leaving school numerate as well as literate and digitally savvy.”223

104.Some witnesses were concerned that not all school children had access to technologies due to inequalities in income.224 NIACE told us: “There is enormous potential for schools to offer access to technology … They and their children need the digital skills to make a start on their digital journey”.225 It is unacceptable that children should be disadvantaged by not having access to educational internet and digital technologies.

105.We agree with our evidence that digital and technology skills should be considered complementary to numeracy and literacy. Digital literacy is an essential tool that underpins other subjects and almost all jobs.

Teaching the teachers

“… we have to just train our teachers”.226—Clare Sutcliffe, Co-founder and CEO, Code Club

Box 10: Key Statistic: Teachers

  • Only 44.9% of secondary school ICT teachers have a post A level qualification relevant to ICT, and the overwhelming majority of primary school teachers do not have a computing background.227

106.Delivery of the new computing curriculum is a major stumbling block for England. Chris Mairs from UKForCE summed up: “… there is not enough subject knowledge in this at the moment”.228 This may well be an issue for the devolved administrations in the future. The Royal Society of Edinburgh and Dr Bill Mitchell of BCS identified teacher expertise in ICT as an issue for all the constituent parts of the UK.229

107.Barclays Bank went further: “The UK’s approach to education has not changed significantly since the first industrial revolution. Similar hours, similar holidays, similar environments.”230 This resonated with recent findings by Ofsted that “improvement in secondary schools has stalled” in 2013/14.231 This seems to us to be particularly pertinent. We are in the midst of a technological revolution, where the world around us is constantly changing, and a new generation of tech savvy young people is constantly adapting to new technologies and new media. Evidence was clear that “[t]here needs to be recognition that we are introducing a new subject and that unlike other GCSE subjects we will need to train or re-train a new generation of teachers”.232 Although this message was echoed throughout our evidence, practice currently falls far short of this.

108.We welcome the introduction of the new computing curriculum in England as a major step towards giving the UK a competitive edge, but there are serious challenges delivering its content. Many teachers are not confident or equipped to deliver the new curriculum.

Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development

109.The evidence agreed that the biggest opportunities for addressing the knowledge gap in computing teaching was through Initial Teacher Training (ITT)233 and Continuing Professional Development (CPD)234.235 The National College for Teaching and Leadership236 (NCTL) told us they had announced increased ITT bursaries of up to £25,000 tax-free for computing trainees in 2015/16. They also funded a scholarship scheme in computing, delivered in partnership with BCS worth £25,000 tax-free.237 The rationale behind this was described by the NCTL as: “We know that many STEM graduates are highly sought after which is why we are responding through the financial incentives on offer.”238 This is all laudable, but the numbers are tiny. For 2014/15, the number of scholarships awarded was just 121, out of only 400 applicants. In 2013/14, meanwhile, only 360 new computing teachers entered the profession.239

110.The Government has made some effort to support CPD, allocating £3.5 million funding for a training budget within schools.240 We were told by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC, however, that “The Government allocated training budget of £3.5 million so far only equates to £175 per school.”241This is pitifully low and should be increased.

111.After taking scholarships and bursary efforts into account, UKForCE outlined the two main ITT challenges: “… convincing students with highly employable and well remunerated computing degrees that teaching is a desirable and worthwhile career”; and “… increasing the number of ITT trainers who are themselves computing specialists”.242 We are not convinced that these challenges can be met by current initiatives.

112.Evidence was consistent about the need for increased investment in CPD, as “new teachers develop the required skills, knowledge and understanding but quickly become out of date as technologies move quickly”.243 It is imperative that teachers keep up to speed with new technologies so that young people are similarly up to speed. This has to be done with industry. Sir Andrew Carter, the Head Teacher at South Farnham School, said: “… there are companies that could support schools enormously and could reach out. There ought even to be somebody from a technological firm on the governing body of every school”.244 This was supported by Marcus Mason from the British Chambers of Commerce, who believed this measure could “help to make schools more responsive to business needs”.245 This is an ambitious ask, but it is this kind of ambition the UK needs to claim its place as a global leader.

113.Witnesses identified school networks as the best way to deliver CPD. Several different examples were given, as are outlined in Appendix 5. We were encouraged to see varied examples of good initiatives, ranging from the Computing At School (CAS) network to teaching school alliances; but they were small scale and the disjoint between initiatives was alarming—none were connected to the others. The Chair of CAS, Professor Simon Peyton Jones, told us:

“The DfE [Department for Education] and NCTL are consciously standing back from the process of training teachers and inviting the tech sector […] to come forward and lead the process of training and equipping teachers to deliver the new curriculum. That is innovative, diverse and creative; but it is also quite likely to be patchy. It is very difficult to guarantee the kind of uniformity of provision, regionally and across schools, that you might if you had big central provision.”246

114.This lack of coordination and urgency were common themes throughout our inquiry. We were concerned that there was a level of complacency around delivery of the new computing curriculum. For example, Mr Vaizey told us: “There is some investment going into training teachers and that change will take time to come through, although one should not underestimate the ability of our children, as I am sure you are aware, to teach themselves how to do a lot of this stuff.”247

115.New and existing teaching staff need significant contact with industry to see the latest technologies in action and subsequently pass such knowledge on to young people.

116.The UK is taking significant steps to prepare school pupils for the future digital workforce, but we risk being let down by inconsistent training for teachers. Leadership and coordination from the Government in teacher training is essential.

Further education

“The infrastructure and workforce skills in FE [further education] are in many instances woefully inadequate”248—UKForCE

117.We heard much evidence249 about low skills levels threatening the digital future of the UK, both in terms of access and digital inclusion, and also the economic needs of firms and clusters (see paragraphs 242–261) in relation to predictions for the labour market and increased reliance on automation. For this reason, the evidence showed that the further education sector is crucial.250

118.Further education is the largest provider of apprenticeships, work-based training, lifelong learning and upgrading adult skills, as well as a significant route into higher education.251 Whole industries are being wiped out due to changing technologies, with new ones emerging at the same time. Having a forward-looking and responsive further education sector is vital if the UK is to have a responsive workforce and remain competitive. Further education will play a key role in developing high-level digital skills, and we welcome the recent announcement of a National College for Digital Skills in London, supported by employers such as IBM, Deloitte and Bank of America.252

119.A focus of our inquiry has been how to join-up the local and national levels. Evidence showed that further education colleges were already well-placed to link local people with training and jobs.253 Karen Price, on behalf of the Tech Partnership, summed up: “… our further education colleges could step into that space; they are well connected in the community”.254

120.Our evidence suggested, however, that there are—as in schools and universities—pockets of excellence in the further education system; but provision is patchy, unresponsive and not meeting employer needs.255 For instance, evidence from Siemens told us that there was only one college in the whole of London that could deliver the training needed by the company.256 Further education has a very wide set of agendas and this risks a lack of focus on key sectors, such as digital.

121.The risk is that the further education sector will provide a piecemeal response across some areas and locations, but nowhere near the scale of support necessary either for specific communities, the population as a whole, or for those firms that must thrive and grow if the UK is to lead the world.

122.These are not problems that further education can or should solve alone. The Government already has a significant role in the system; it provides funding and regulates both qualifications and the system itself. It also ensures standards of teaching and learning through Ofsted.

123.The Government told us it had implemented significant reform to the further education system, removing central targets and commissioning so that further education providers were free to respond to local skills needs.257 It highlighted the Further Education Learning Technology Action Group (FELTAG), and the subsequent measures announced in the Ministerial Response to FELTAG, “aimed to ensure that the FE [further education] workforce and FE delivery mechanisms become much more digitally agile”.258

124.These are a step in the right direction, but a recent three-year study of further education colleges by the New Engineering Foundation259 found that STEM provision was inadequate in every college: “In the worst examples, 80% of a curriculum was ‘misaligned’ (it did not match industry trends)”.260 This serves only to emphasise that the role of the further education sector needs to be stepped up. The evidence was clear that industry must input into further education to enable the sector to respond usefully.261 There were also calls for a culture-shift towards lifelong learning. We say more about this in paragraphs 181–189.

125.There is an urgent requirement for comprehensive industry input into the further education system. The Government should encourage strong partnerships between industry and colleges. Training delivery must be revamped. Further education colleges need to move up a gear and provide industry-designed and endorsed short courses that are going to lead to a job.

126.General digital skills could be improved by including a digital element in all further education courses, as well as more specific courses for digital and technology occupations. We welcome the introduction of the National College for Digital Skills in London. More provision like this would be positive—perhaps one linked to each major cluster in the UK.

Accreditation and qualifications

127.There was evidence that as the economy moved to a requirement for a more nimble training system to allow employers to respond to new innovations, the accreditation and qualification framework remained slow, fragmented, inconsistent and unreliable.262 Martin Hottass of Siemens summed up:

“You could have an applicant with a diploma in engineering who could be from a UTC [University Technical College], and it could be the old engineering diploma that was 14 to 16 or 16 to 18, but now we have also renamed our national certificates and higher national certificates into diplomas and advanced diplomas, so you could have two completely different kettles of fish with the same name.”263

128.It is no surprise therefore, that industry prefers accreditation by professional bodies, since this is a guarantee of high standards which are transferable beyond the immediate work-based context in which they are delivered.264

129.Ms Price went further: “… you need industry-designed and endorsed courses that are relevant so people will have the confidence that if they study and get a certificate in it, at the end of the day it is going to lead to a job”.265 In the same way that the education system needs reform to meet the changing world, so too does the qualification and accreditation system.

130.The qualification and accreditation framework requires greater consistency and longevity. Employer trust in the system will be strengthened by industry-designed and endorsed certificates, delivering the necessary high standards.

Skills funding

“The Skills Funding Agency’s role is to make sure that public funds are used in the most cost-effective way.”266—Martin Hottass, Manager, Skills & Siemens Professional Education, Siemens

131.Sue Husband of the Skills Funding Agency stressed that the Government “support[s] over 1,000 colleges, private providers and training organisations, along with employers, with more than £4 billion of public funding each year”.267

132.Despite Government efforts, we heard that the way funding is allocated is not conducive to gearing up provision in the way that employers need. The problem with the system is that “the offer of colleges is driven by where they can access the funding”.268 Ms Price told us: “… the amount of the adult skills budget that is being spent on it [further education] currently can be spent on relevant material that the community and the market need”.269

133.Iain Wood from TalkTalk identified this as an inclusion issue:

“We also need to restructure skills training … around much shorter courses that are much more accessible and speak particularly to the harder to reach people who are never going to sign up for a three or four-year course. Within that, clearly there is budget restructuring that needs to happen.”270

134.We do not believe skills funding is being used in the most cost effective way. Skills funding can be used to rebalance the further education offer to meet employer needs.271

135.Skills funding is not presently targeted sufficiently to improve the capacity of the UK’s workforce and grow its economy. Provision is cumbersome and slow to adapt. There is a clear opportunity for the Government here; to join-up industry, further education and funding. The Government’s proposals to improve further education will not have the desired effects without an overhaul of the funding system.


136.Our evidence agreed that apprenticeships were a good, agile solution for the future workforce,272 as well as being able to meet immediate requirements.273 We say more about filling the immediate skills gap in the next Part of this Chapter (see Part IV, paragraphs 181–218). For instance, Chris Jones from City & Guilds told us: “… apprenticeships [are] a very flexible tool, unlike much of education … Apprenticeships, and by their very nature the employer-driven agenda, should provide a far greater opportunity to be responsive to technology change”.274 In addition, according to the NAO, apprenticeships reap strong economic returns.275

137.Over recent years there has been a decline in the number of apprenticeships taken up across all subjects. In England apprenticeship starts across the board in 2013/14 had fallen by 13.7% from the previous year.276 Apprenticeship starts in ICT fell from 19,520 in 2010/11 to 14,120 in 2012/13; and dropped again to 13,060 in 2013/14.277 In addition, our evidence highlighted a traditionally low regard for vocational learning,278 which has resulted in many students “studying, or at least starting, irrelevant or undemanding degrees, when a good quality apprenticeship or industry-provided vocational training would be more effective”.279

138.For these reasons we welcome the Government’s and the devolved administrations’ efforts to increase the number of apprenticeships and higher apprenticeships.280 These efforts are relatively new and so it is unclear how successful they will be.281

139.There is no evidence that apprenticeship numbers are yet anywhere near meeting the ambitions of the scheme. In fact, witnesses agreed that the number of apprenticeships, particularly high-level apprenticeships, was far below what the economy needed.282 For instance, Mr Jones said that in the last year (2013/14) “less than 3% of the total number of apprenticeship starts were ICT apprenticeships”.283 This was alongside a gap in IT workers qualified to level three, as outlined by BCS which estimated currently the UK economy could easily absorb at least three times as many level three IT apprentices. According to BCS, in 2014 Microsoft reported that amongst its partners there were 100,000 unfilled vacancies in the UK; many of these were suitable for level three technicians.284 There was also concern that non-digital provision “usually lacks any significant coding or other relevant computing skills acquisition, even though almost all trades and professions require these as standard practice”.285

140.Evidence of the disjoint between apprenticeships offered and job vacancies appears in Government statistics, which show that the number of apprenticeship starts across the UK regions is not in alignment with the number of predicted regional employment opportunities. The majority of apprenticeships are in the North West of England, where 71,670 apprenticeships were started in 2013/14. This is almost 80% more starts than London, which had 40,050. This is despite the prediction for London to have a 15.9% share of UK employment by 2020, compared to the North West’s 10.5% share. Yorkshire and the Humber (North East) had the 3rd most apprenticeship starts (at 53,120), but is predicted only a 7.9% share of employment (see Chart 2 below).

Chart 2: Apprenticeship starts versus predicted UK employment by 2020286

Chart 2: Apprenticeship starts versus predicted UK employment by 2020

141.To meet the skills shortfall, some witnesses called for later life apprenticeships.287 These are already available. Conversely, our evidence, including Government statistics, showed that there was a shortage in the availability and take-up of apprenticeships for 16–19 year-olds.288 The economic case for increasing the number of young apprentices was clear; the unemployment rate amongst 16–17 year-olds is 32.9%, whilst among 18–24 year-olds the rate is 14.2%.289 In addition, for July to September 2014 there were still 954,000 young people in the UK who were not in education, employment or training.290 Incentives are available for companies who take on younger apprentices;291 but the funding appears to us to be inadequate to seriously encourage take-up.

142.Apprenticeships can help plug the short- and medium-term skills gap. We believe 16–19 year-olds must be targeted by employers, teachers, and careers guidance professionals to enable them to choose and take up good apprenticeships. There is also a need to tackle negative perceptions of vocational education among schools, teachers, head teachers and parents.

143.Including a digital element in all apprenticeship schemes, as well as offering more digital apprenticeships for specific technology occupations and sectors (taking into account the predicted changes to the labour market), could improve general digital skills.

Apprentice employers

144.For apprenticeships to be fit for purpose—to meet industry requirements and to equip participants with the tools to be successful in the future economy—witnesses emphasised the necessity of industry input:292 “… the employer needs to own the content”.293 During our inquiry we heard evidence of several apprenticeship schemes developed by big organisations, for instance Siemens, as a means of meeting an unfulfilled workforce requirement. We were impressed by the apparent quality of those schemes.

145.Witnesses agreed that there were inadequacies in the information, advice and guidance designed to encourage people to take up apprenticeships.294 We deal with this more fully in paragraphs 160–180. As well as the demand-side problem, there is also a supply issue. This warning from BCS resonated with us: “… the capacity for providing [level three and higher] apprenticeships will only improve if some way is found for many more employers to provide them”.295 Although SMEs were identified as an important part of the supply side, big companies are not off the hook. Mr Jones told us: “SMEs make up about 54% of all apprenticeships, so they are doing a pretty good job. The real heavy lifting needs to come from the big companies.”296 There are simply not enough apprenticeships on offer. Our evidence identified a lack of funding support for businesses and a lack of clarity in the system, especially for SMEs, as some of the reasons for this shortfall.297 Gary Warke from Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), for example, told us: “… to a certain extent [SMEs] feel disconnected around advice about things like funding for apprenticeships and how they might get support”.298

146.On this point, Mr Mason blamed a lack of industry involvement in the design of the apprenticeships programme: “… with regard to the Employer Ownership of Skills programme that is being run by BIS [Department for Business, Innovation & Skills], there are some questions as to how many SMEs are involved in designing those apprenticeships. It is really important to retain that involvement”.299 We say more about industry input into the education and training system in paragraphs 201–204.

147.In order to increase employer input, the Government told us:

“CAVTL [Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning] recommended the adoption of the ‘two way street’ between providers and employers … Through its ‘Teach Too’ programme, more people from business will become directly involved in the delivery of vocational education, which will directly influence learners”.300

148.This is a welcome move, but it is clear to us that much more needs to be done. As Antony Walker of techUK said: “I think industry is trying to do a lot, but there is a lot more to do.”301

149.Industry needs to be encouraged to offer more apprenticeships. Industry and the Government need to work together to set ambitions for apprenticeship numbers over the next five years, working to match apprenticeships with predicted workforce shortages.

Higher education

“University research is often at the cutting edge in developing the technological advances which drive the creation of new industries and new types of jobs.”302—HM Government

Research and development

150.RCUK told us: “Postgraduate level study is extremely important for equipping the UK with the high level skills needed in an information economy.”303 More than that, research and development (R&D) enables the UK to be at the forefront of innovation, keeping abreast of the changing technological landscape and driving growth:

“The strength of UK universities and the wider knowledge base is a national asset. Our knowledge base is the most productive in the G8, with a depth and breadth of expertise across over 400 areas of distinctive research strength. The UK produces 14% of the most highly cited papers and our Higher Education Institutions generate over £3 billion in external income each year.”304

151.With this strength, the UK is, in theory, well positioned to predict, influence and respond to the changing economy and labour market—if universities are linked with their local economies (we say more about this in paragraphs 256–269). Recent figures, however, show R&D expenditure in the UK decreased by 3% between 2011 and 2012.305 Data from the WEF shows that the UK ranked 14th in 2014 for company spending on R&D, after leading economies Switzerland, Japan, Finland, the USA, Germany, Sweden, Israel, Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, Belgium, Austria and Denmark.306 This is down two places from the previous year.

152.During the Committee’s visit to Imperial College London in November 2014 (see Appendix 8), a concern was expressed that a lack of funded research opportunities—along with restrictive visa rules—meant that researchers who had been funded by the university for up to 10 years left the UK to work elsewhere. The concern is that as the UK’s talent pool—and investment in that talent pool—decreases, so too does our competitive advantage. Every graduate or postgraduate with high-level digital capabilities that we lose is an advantage ceded to another country or another firm in another place.

153.Spending on overall research and development has fallen, meaning that the UK’s position as a global leader in this field is threatened. This has a negative knock-on effect on the high-level talent pipeline.

Computer science degree courses

154.A high number and quality of computer science graduates is important to UK competitiveness, both in terms of high-level talent, and to work in the talent pipeline as teachers. There was evidence that the higher education offer around computer science provision was not consistent between institutions. Recent press coverage reported a high unemployment rate among computer science graduates.307 On this point, the Government told us: “NCUB [National Centre for Universities and Businesses] noted the poor employment rates of computing graduates, despite an industry skills shortage”.308

155.Evidence from Professor Dame Wendy Hall contradicted this perception: “Our students [at Southampton University] are snapped up before they have finished their degrees. Many of our students start their own businesses, and that does not get reported properly in the statistics.”309 Our own research supported this. The ONS reported that in April to June 2013, graduates in mathematics/computer science were 89% likely to be employed (joint 9th out of 17 subjects).310 For computer science alone, Which? reported that graduate employment rates across the Russell Group of Universities lay between 83% and 96%, with average salaries ranging between £21,700 and £34,300.311

156.One reason for this, Dame Wendy explained, was that: “When you dig under, you find that a lot of different types of courses are classed under computer science … You will get IT lumped in with all sorts of different things under computer science … We need to make people employable”.312

157.Evidence showed that some higher education establishments work closely with industry to align course content with industrial need (see Box 11). This does not happen across the board.

Box 11: Case Study: The Open University and digital industries in Manchester and the North West

“Digital industries typically comprise SME[s] and microenterprises which individually may find it difficult to sustain collaboration with universities. For the past five years, the OU [Open University] has worked successfully with Manchester Digital (MD), a trade association for the sector in Manchester and the North West.

“OU students tend to be part-time and already have experience in work, potentially making them attractive to employers. Our relationship with MD has made the sector aware of OU students as potential employees and our students aware of, and prepared for, opportunities afforded by the sector.

“The long-term engagement with MD and its members has deepened the University’s understanding of the sector’s skills requirements, enabling us to develop these in our students and maximise employability. It has also brought opportunities for collaboration with other HEIs [Higher Education Institutions] and other institutions in supporting the sector. Interpretation of ‘skills’ and ‘employability’ is necessarily broad, with support including joint industry/academic talks (professional development), improved preparation of students for work in the sector, improved relevance of curriculum to industrial needs and collaborative R&D which contributes to the development of employers’ high-level and strategic skills.”313

158.Universities need to be encouraged to work in partnership with industry, to make sure relevant courses are aligned with employer needs.

159.We believe that greater transparency and availability of destination data would enable prospective students to make a more informed choice about future study at higher education level.

A new approach to careers guidance

“Careers advice is patchy, uninformed and often unimaginative.”314—UKForCE

Box 12: Key Statistic: Careers guidance

  • In the UK, only 4% of 15 year-olds want careers in engineering and computing.315

160.We had evidence which said that careers guidance within education is especially important; not least in challenging perceptions of digital and STEM careers316—but evidence agreed the current offer is inadequate.317

161.The Government’s written evidence provided little detail on careers guidance. Its only substantive comment was that the Department for Education had “new statutory guidance for schools, effective from September 2014 and will shortly publish equivalent guidance for colleges”.318

162.Ms Husband provided us with a summary of the role of the Government’s National Careers Service319:

“We are there to provide impartial information and guidance to young people and adults, and that includes … provision of up-to-date labour market information that young people and parents can readily access through our website. We get that through a variety of sources: through the sectors and, importantly nowadays, through local enterprise partnerships and the Office for National Statistics. We liaise very closely with partner organisations and connect young people to other websites … The National Careers Service also has a professionally trained workforce, and I think that is key in giving young people the right advice about where to look for more detailed information on the careers that they should be pursuing”.320

163.Careers guidance is not uniform across the UK; the National Careers Service is responsible for careers and skills advice in England. The devolved administrations have their own respective services: ‘Careers Service Northern Ireland’,321 ‘Skills Development Scotland’322 and ‘Careers Wales’.323

164.Despite the positive picture put forward by the Government and Ms Husband, the majority of the evidence said that current careers guidance was poor and outdated.324 Ms Price described current careers guidance as “absolutely shocking” and as not working “for any sector or for any company”.325 This is particularly problematic given the predicted changes to the labour market; without the appropriate careers guidance and advice in place, young people (and the population in general), will not be able to make an informed decision about potential career choices.

165.Baroness Shields, the Government’s Digital Adviser and Chair of Tech City UK, highlighted how the rise and pace of technological change had completely altered employment; whereas previously people would have most likely had one career for their lifetime, it was now likely that individuals would have a number of jobs: “… the 18 year-old of last year would have 11 jobs by the time they were 37 … The days are gone when you relied on a career counsellor … who said, ‘You might be this’, and then you became that for the rest of your life”.326 The role of the career advisor was more appropriate when people tended to have only one job for their entire working lives.

166.It was also questioned whether existing careers guidance encouraged people, regardless of gender, to consider all the opportunities and routes available to them. That is, whether advice extended beyond suggesting the higher education route.327 The UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC said that “one of the most obvious weaknesses” seemed to be alerting students to the choices they had post 16 and 18. For example, many students were given little—or no—information about apprenticeships, let alone digital apprenticeships.328

167.Other suggested reforms to careers advice centred on the age groups that should be targeted. On one end of the scale, the CBI told us that it was increasingly important that people received careers advice “from an earlier age”.329 Future career prospects are affected by subjects chosen at the age of 14.330 At the other end of the scale, Mr Hughes said careers services focused “too closely on people aged between 18 and 24”.331 Straddling both of these views, the UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC said that careers advice should be an ongoing process “from primary school right through to those already in work who may be seeking alternative career paths”.332

168.Much of our evidence proposed that industry play a greater and more active role in providing careers information, guidance and advice.333 The CBI, for example, stressed: “Employer engagement … is key to ensuring the information young people receive is relevant, up to date and grounded in the realities of the labour market.”334

169.Although we received evidence of innovative schemes attempting to improve careers advice (see Appendix 5), these were not consistent or connected.335 This was a point reflected by the Minister of State for Skills and Equalities, Nick Boles MP, who said that there was “very little light-touch co-ordination”, with little sense that there was “one place to go where you can find out exactly who is best”.336 Mr Boles acknowledged that this was a problem, particularly for schools.337

170.Some witnesses took this further. The IET said that professionals in industry should be “supported and encouraged to provide mentoring and advice to young people”.338 Lady Shields, meanwhile, said that she felt this was a grassroots/local issue: “You [businesses] cannot complain that you do not have the right skills if you are not extending your hand to the schools in your area”.339

171.Compelling evidence from Ms Price said that careers guidance needed to be turned “on its head” and that we should “do something transformational”.340 Dame Wendy and Lady Shields said that careers guidance needed to head for the “social network route”.341 The benefit of this approach was that it would allow you to “scale the advice and allow people, either as themselves or anonymously, to interact and have conversations about their future potential”.342

172.The UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC suggested something similar. It advocated regional groups collaborating to establish websites dedicated to “connecting education and tech businesses in order [to] help improve careers guidance and facilitate work experience”, which LEPs, local authorities or self-organising collaborations could lead.343

173.The current careers guidance structure is outdated and does not support the needs of the future digitally-skilled workforce. It would be more appropriate to talk about ‘employment’ guidance. Industry has a vested interest in this; if employers want to close the skills gap and recruit the best individuals, they must have greater involvement.

174.We believe that a radical rethink is required to inject imagination into employment guidance. An employment guidance service needs strong central leadership which coordinates local schemes.

The role of parents and teachers

175.The evidence also stressed the influence that parents and teachers had over young people when they were considering a future career.344 Ms Philbin told us: “It is critical that we help teachers and parents in this space because it is shown that they are massively influential.”345 She highlighted that parents and teachers “are the ones who the teenagers will turn to, so all the inspiration in the world goes to one side if a parent goes, ‘No, you ought to be a lawyer’”.346


176.Parents (especially mothers) were shown to be extremely influential.347 A survey of over 5,000 school pupils in 2012348 found 43% of respondents349 turned to parents as “their most significant source of advice on possible careers”.350 The influence of parents also has an impact on the number of women taking up digital careers. Dame Wendy, for example, noted that research on the failure to attract women to computer science courses found “it is so much about what the parents think”.351

177.It was said that many parents had a negative perception of work in digital and STEM areas, and did not perceive them as a ‘proper’ career. A survey by O2 in June 2014 questioned over 2,000 parents, and discovered that a significant proportion (38%) would prefer their children to pursue ‘traditional’ career routes rather than so-called modern ‘digital’ careers. As many as one in 10 (10%) admitted they would actively discourage their child from pursuing a digitally focused career. O2’s survey also highlighted a disconnect between the skills in demand from UK employers352 and those skills valued by many parents, with many “seemingly oblivious of the growing importance of digital skills in all walks of life”;353 almost a quarter (23%) believed digital skills were irrelevant to their children’s future career success. The lack of knowledge amongst parents was perhaps the most important outtake from the consultation, with one in three parents (38%) admitting they did not know enough about the digital economy to help their children make informed career choices.354

178.Given the importance of digital and the important role parents have to play in influencing career choices, respondents stressed that there needed to be increased awareness amongst parents; that is, increased awareness of the opportunities digital could provide and the potential career paths.355 Ms Philbin said that “… they need to understand that it does not matter whether you work for Network Rail, Ocado, Google, a charity or a tiny SME, you need a level of digital skills”.356 As part of this, we heard that the media had a role to play. UKForCE told us: “This is an area where the BBC and national newspapers can and should play a significant role.”357 Samsung similarly said that highlighting role models and “the many successful new market entrants” would be another way to raise awareness.358


179.A number of respondents touched on the importance of teachers in relation to careers guidance. Ms Philbin and the UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC said that teachers sometimes seemed more focused on achieving good exam results than on giving good advice.359 UKForCE suggested that as part of an improved and more inspirational careers guidance model, teachers should have more exposure to the roles of digital skills in various sectors “through short work placements and shadowing”.360 A similar view was expressed by Mr Jones, who said that it should be an “absolute requirement for them [teachers] to go back into industry for the most possible time that they can afford”.361

180.Parents and teachers play a critical role in influencing future employment options and choices; both, however, suffer from a lack of awareness that must be addressed. For teachers, part of tackling this awareness could be achieved through increased industry exposure.

Part IV: Filling the immediate skills gap

Continuing Professional Development

181.The conclusions we have drawn in the earlier Parts of this Chapter are aimed at preparing the UK for the changes in the labour market. Perhaps of more immediacy, our evidence showed that the existing workforce must be future-proofed for the UK to reach its economic potential.362 The world is changing now and the UK’s workforce must adapt to compete. Traditional ‘safe’ industries have recently announced redundancies and closures. Lloyds Banking Group announced 9,000 job losses and the net closure of 150 branches;363 and large supermarkets such as Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons are cutting back jobs and costs in response to changing shopping habits.364

182.There was consensus that the workforce needs to be agile and workers learn throughout their lives to keep up with changing technologies.365 To do so is to drive growth. Mr Hughes told us the job gap366: “… need[s] to be filled by people working longer, people working more hours and people who are not active getting back into the labour market”.367 Lifelong learning will support this.

183.As discussed in paragraphs 117–126, the training system does not currently meet employer requirements for flexibility. Andreas Schleicher from the OECD told us: “[Successful countries] modularise education a lot more than in the UK. You can accumulate qualifications over your life cycle, you can alternate education and work, and employers are a lot more open to people continuing their education”.368 This means other countries are better placed than the UK to compete in the changing world.

184.In order to service this need for constant re-education, Michael Gleaves from the Hartree Centre369 told us: “… it needs to be embedded within the culture of our nation that people need continually to re-educate themselves and build new skills”.370 A shift towards learning throughout life brings increased responsibility to all participants: the individual, the Government, and employers.

185.Increased responsibility for employers necessitates increased industry input into training provision. As Mr Hottass explained:

“When we [Siemens] started this journey it was purely driven by economics. We were saying, ‘We need to grow our business. We want to grow our business. Do we have the right skills?’ Surprise, surprise, they were not in the marketplace, so the only way you can do that then is to engage wholesale.”371

186.The level of industry input, however, is not currently meeting demand. Mr Schleicher explained that intensity of industry participation in the UK was lower than in countries such as Sweden: “Employers in the UK invest in filling short-term skill gaps but they do not invest in the kind of sustained development that upgrades human capital.”372

187.A culture shift in how people interact with the training system, particularly in how it is funded, is necessary. Mr Schleicher advocated Sweden’s system: “… people are willing to invest in their skills because they translate into access to more jobs and ultimately better earnings”.373 He also told us: “the true costs are not in the tuition; the true costs lie in forgoing earnings”.374

188.The Government’s responsibility lies in facilitating industry input and individual take-up to happen. We explain this in more detail in paragraph 298. The Scottish Government told us it was responding to short- and medium-term skills gaps by means of its Skills Investment Plan for the digital/ICT sector,375 which included: the development of an industry-led talent academy; support for CPD; supporting talent attraction strategies, including the recruitment of overseas talent and action to attract more women to enter and return to the profession; and the development of a targeted marketing campaign.376

189.Continuing Professional Development and a move to short, sharp, relevant interventions later in life are imperative for the UK’s workforce to remain competitive. The development of skilling throughout life needs a fundamental rethink. The Government must be at the forefront of this change.

Online and self-learning

190.The evidence showed there is already an increased emphasis on self-learning and online learning,377 such as through MOOCs, to support CPD. This re-emphasis needs to apply across the existing workforce, throughout the education system, and to those returning to work to enable the population to adapt to their changing work environments.378 The first Government supported MOOC to educate cybersecurity professionals launched in September 2014;379 and Codecademy—a free online programming website—had 24 million learners from around the world as of January 2015.380

191.Self-learning has no guarantee of success; risks include whether learners and educators know where to look for courses381 and reliance on a learner’s motivation.382 Professor Martin Weller from the Open University told us: “The completion rates on these MOOCs, the big open courses, are very low at around 10%.”383 Evidence suggested that a solution lies in incorporating ‘learning to learn’ within the education system.384 For instance, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals told us: “The only way you can prepare students for a future workplace of such volatility is by inspiring them to become confident independent learners.”385 We agree.

192.The role of business, industry and the Government needs to be examined to deliver a cultural shift towards preparing learners to learn for themselves.

Short courses: training providers

193.Short, sharp training interventions which allow employers to be responsive to change are a vital part of the future. Mr Jones told us: “That sense of continuous learning, bite-sized learning or learning what you need when you need it is one that employers readily recognise”.386

194.We have seen a few examples of private and third sector organisations which have begun to move into the gap left by the education and training system, but their offer is limited (see Appendix 5). Of the private sector, Guy Levin of the Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) told us: “… you can do a three-month immersive course with them and they [the training provider] will teach you all the skills you need to be a junior web developer at a start-up or at a larger tech company. The only problem is that it costs you £8,000”.387

195.We agree with Mr Levin that the £8,000 cost makes this option inaccessible to most people.

196.The third sector is active in training delivery; for instance Age UK Training delivers computer courses for all age groups,388 whilst Code Club plans to increase in size. We were impressed with the community engagement of some of these organisations,389 but they are barely resourced enough to deliver their core business. Provision is inconsistent across the UK; they do not have the resources to increase the range of courses they can offer.

197.The third sector should be supported to use its existing networks and increase the provision of relevant digital courses.

Further and higher education

198.As discussed in paragraphs 117–130, the further education sector is best placed to respond to the urgent need of employers, by delivering short, sharp training provision; what is required for the sector is a change of focus.

199.Evidence showed the higher education sector also has not responded to the urgent need for reskilling. Mr Boles told us: “I am surprised by how slowly the university sector has changed. I would have expected, and do expect in the next 10 years, a much more rapid embrace of sandwich courses, shorter courses, longer courses, more part-time courses.”390 Other witnesses spoke of the importance of conversion courses,391 where degrees can be ‘converted’ to a more vocational employment pathway.392

200.Universities could better serve prospective students by adding the option of shorter, more flexible provision to its existing course. This could be done via targeted skills funding. Universities should ensure that all graduates are digitally competent.

Active employer engagement

201.There was consensus that there is an urgent requirement for industry input across the education system. The workforce will only be adaptable and employers competitive if training is targeted. We have heard that active employer engagement in primary and secondary schools, further education, apprenticeships, careers guidance, and accreditation and qualifications makes the difference between good provision and bad provision.

202.Government efforts need to be scaled-up. There is a key role for the Government in facilitating industry buy-in. We say more about this in Chapter 5 (see paragraph 298).

203.The Government told us of “£18.4m of co-funding for a new employer-led industrial partnership, the ‘Tech Partnership’”,393 which aims to develop a certification brand, deliver CPD, supply employer-developed higher education programmes, supply an industry-backed MOOC, and gain employer-led support for careers education, information, advice and guidance, and run three tech skills hubs on Big Data cybersecurity.394 This is a welcome initiative, but it is small-scale. Only 2,750 young people will undertake industry-accredited apprenticeships. In addition, according to the Government, reforms to careers guidance will encourage only 14,000 new female entrants to the sector.395

204.Immediate industry involvement to enhance the education and training agenda is vital to make sure the UK’s workforce can adapt to the requirements of the new world. We recognise the Government’s efforts to engage business and industry in education, but these efforts do not go far enough and are geographically inconsistent. Over the next five years the new Government has a responsibility to ensure industry-education partnerships flourish.


“Digital business is global business … so we absolutely need to be attractive to talent and be able to bring the talent in”.396—Paul Willmott, Director, McKinsey & Company

205.The role of immigration in filling the immediate skills gap was raised throughout our inquiry.

206.The evidence highlighted that the rising demand for individuals with high-level skills was “difficult to meet from national sources”.397 For example, we heard that in the UK demand for engineers was 87,000 per annum for the next decade, whilst the current number of engineering graduates per annum was just 46,000.398The Government noted “it is impossible to estimate how quickly the gap could be closed by home grown talent alone” and so “British Tech companies will … need access to the global skills market to obtain the talent required to grow in the short-term”.399 There is another issue here, namely the small minority of the engineering workforce made up of women. This was covered more extensively in paragraph 54.

207.Innovate UK noted that in a globalised world, it would be imperative for the UK to have access to—and remain an attractive location for—the global talent pool in order to build a highly-skilled technical workforce.400 As Paul Willmott from McKinsey & Company said: “It is very important that we are globally competitive in our ability to attract talent.”401

208.To do this, a different approach was called for. For example, the Recruitment & Employment Confederation402 said: “… in the short term, the UK must adopt a flexible approach to immigration to ensure that candidates with skills in short supply or lacking in the domestic market are able to come to work in the UK”.403 This was supported by other evidence.404

209.There was broad consensus that visa and immigration policy—at least in relation to high-skilled immigration in the short- to medium-term—was not working and needed to be reformed.405

210.We were warned that the changes to the visa process since 2010 had a negative impact on securing those with the necessary talent and digital skills. Specifically, we were told that the UK was educating its competitors. Mr Levin explained:

“The visa reforms since 2010 have been quite detrimental … Scrapping post-study visas means that some of our best [international] STEM graduates and computer science graduates … are forced to leave when they could be delivering massive contributions not just for start-ups but in any section of the economy”.406

211.Imperial College London has experienced this problem. When we visited the College in November 2014 (see Appendix 8), we were told that over half of its students were from outside the UK. With the College recognised as the 2nd best university in the UK for engineering and technology (and 6th in the world),407 it seems economically counter-productive that visa restrictions would prevent its graduates from remaining in the UK to contribute to the economy. This had a negative effect of training graduates who would then be sent back to work for the UK’s competitors.

212.Makers Academy pointed out that because of visa reform, many of its graduates had ended up securing employment in other countries (such as Singapore, Australia and South Africa), despite more UK companies looking to hire Makers Academy graduates than there were graduates seeking employment.408

213.Witnesses highlighted that post-study visas played an important role for allowing international students to remain in the UK and contribute to the economy using the skills they had been taught. For instance, Mr Walker said: “When those researchers have completed their studies, when they have developed their ideas, we need to be encouraging them to stay in the UK and build businesses and wealth here.”409 In their report, ‘International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students’, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recommended that the Government “immediately reinstate the previous post-study work route”.410

214.It was generally accepted that longer-term immigration was necessary for competitiveness. For example, Mr Mason said that we should not regard high-skilled immigration as “just about plugging a skills gap”.411

215.As well as this, evidence stressed that home-grown talent was of greater importance (as was discussed in Part II of this Chapter, see paragraphs 88–92). Tata Consultancy Services412, for example, said: “In order for it to win the ‘skills race’ and succeed … the UK needs to be able to develop its skills base and home-grown talent”.413

216.There was some evidence which did not agree that the visa and immigration agenda needed reforming. Professor Alan Manning from the LSE said that the skills shortage was due to a failing within the training system. Professor Manning argued that individual companies “do not want to pay for the training themselves” and “cannot get their act together well enough to agree on a system [for training]”.414 Digital Youth Academy and Pera Training415 said that the UK was one of the world’s digital front runners, and thus did not view encouraging high-skilled immigration as necessary.416 Despite these strongly worded views, the overwhelming body of evidence favoured a need for a reformed visa process.

217.Current immigration and visa rules do not support the urgent short-term need for talent. We agree with the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee who, in their report ‘International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students’, recommended that the Government “immediately reinstate the previous post-study work route”.

218.Even if the previous post-study visa work route was reintroduced, an incoming Government could not rely solely on high-skilled immigration as the main mechanism to reduce the skills shortage in the short term. Greater emphasis is needed on cultivating home-grown talent, with a longer-term immigration policy that would still allow the UK access to the best global talent, especially to graduates.

185 Written evidence from RCUK (DSC0055)

186 UK Digital Skills Taskforce, Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World: Interim Report (July 2014): [accessed 8 December 2014]. See also written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

187 Hosted by The Royal Academy of Engineering, the UK Forum for Computing Education (UKForCE) is an independent committee, acting as a single voice for the computing community on 5–19 computing education issues. It brings together key stakeholders to share the vision of improving computing education across all education jurisdictions of the UK. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

188 The Government published an estimate of the number of full-time and part-time workers. These Standard Occupation Codes (SOCs) ranged from chief executives to manual workers, such as shelf packers and farm labourers. The process UKForCE following to conduct its analysis included: adding a fourth (lower) tier of skills (see Box 9); taking a view for each SOC on what fraction of people undertaking that occupation would require a set of digital skills falling into each of the four bands; converting this fraction into an absolute number of people in each SOC requiring skills in each band (application of the fraction to the total number of people within the SOC published by the Government); and aggregating the people falling into each band across the entire set of SOCs. See: UKForCE Submission to Maggie Philbin’s Digital Task Force: [accessed 11 December 2014]

189 ONS, ‘Labour Market Statistics, June 2013’: [accessed 6 January 2015]

190 UKForCE, ‘Submission to Maggie Philbin’s Digital Task Force’: [accessed 11 December 2014]. See also written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

191 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

192 Written evidence from CBI (DSC0074) and NIACE (DSC0088)

193 QQ 15–25 (Professor Wajcman’s opening remarks), Q 69 (Marcus Mason), Q 136 (Iain Wood), Q 206 (Dinah Caine), Q 232 (Chris Jones), written evidence from British and Irish Association of Law Librarians (DSC0020), McAfee (DSC0022), Trustworthy Software Initiative (DSC0024), Fiona Scott Lazareff (DSC0028), Digital Youth Academy and Pera Training (DSC0029), Dr Lisa Payne (DSC0031), Philip Virgo (DSC0034), Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) (DSC0035), British Sky Broadcasting (DSC0036), City & Guilds (DSC0044), Elix-IRR (DSC0046), Here East (DSC0048), IET (DSC0049), Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP (DSC0054), RCUK (DSC0055), KTN (DSC0056), NMI (DSC0062), Prospect (DSC0064), Open University (DSC0065), learndirect (DSC0066), QA Limited (DSC0069), CBI (DSC0074), UKForCE (DSC0078), Go ON UK (DSC0079), CompTIA (DSC0082), HM Government (DSC0084), NIACE (DSC0088), BT (DSC0091), Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092), Creative Skillset (DSC0095), UK Music (DSC0097), UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101), Dynamo North East (DSC0107), iRights (DSC0108), Welsh Government (DSC0123), Northern Ireland Government (DSC0125) and Scottish Government (DSC0128)

194 e-skills UK was the Sector Skills Council for the tech industries. The work of e-skills UK is being taken forward by the Tech Partnership. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

195 SAS is a leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

196 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101). See also: e-skills UK, Big Data Analytics: An assessment of demand for labour and skills, 2012–2017 (January 2013): [accessed 11 December 2014]

197 Science Council, The current and future UK science workforce (September 2011): [accessed 11 December 2014]

198 Q 16 (Professor Phillip Brown), written evidence from OCR (DSC0014), OECD (DSC0016), British Sky Broadcasting (DSC0036), ALT (DSC0057), NMI (DSC0062), Frog Education (DSC0071), Tony Harper (DSC0075), Apps for Good (DSC0080), HM Government (DSC0084), Association for UK Interactive Entertainment (Ukie) (DSC0086), NIACE (DSC0088), Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092), Science Council (DSC0096), UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101) and Tablets for Schools (DSC0118)

199 BIS, ‘Industrial Strategy: government and industry in partnership’: [accessed 18 December 2014]

200 Deloitte, London Futures: Agiletown: the relentless march of technology and London’s response (November 2014): [accessed 20 January 2015]

201 Written evidence from Apps for Good (DSC0080)

202 Apps for Good is an open-source technology education movement that partners with educators in schools and learning centres, and challenges the way computing is taught in schools. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

203 Q 4 (Jessica Bland), Q 205 (Dinah Caine), written evidence from Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) (DSC0030), Here East (DSC0048), Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP (DSC0054), Humber LEP (DSC0060), CBI (DSC0074), Ukie (DSC0086), Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092), Creative Skillset (DSC0095), UK Music (DSC0097) and Nesta supplementary written evidence (DSC0003)

205 CBI, ‘Creative and digital Industries’: [accessed 11 December 2014]

206 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

207 Innovate UK (formerly known as the Technology Strategy Board) is a business-led organisation with a leadership role to stimulate technology development and innovation for the benefit of UK business in the areas which offer the greatest potential for boosting UK growth. The organisation operates across the Government and advises on polices which relate to technology, innovation and knowledge transfer. Innovate UK is the UK innovation agency and acts as the prime channel through which the Government incentivises business-led technology innovation. It has directly supported over 6,500 companies and works with nearly every university in the UK. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

208 Written evidence from Innovate UK (DSC0070)

209 Written evidence from Apps for Good (DSC0080), Ukie (DSC0086) and supplementary written evidence from Creative Skillset (DSC0116)

210 Nesta is an independent charity that works to increase the innovation capacity of the UK. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

211 Nesta, A Dynamic Mapping of the UK’s Creative Industries (January 2013): [accessed 19 January 2015]

213 Q 4 (Martin Wolf), Q 89 (David Hughes), Q 164 (Mark Chambers), written evidence from RSE (DSC0030) and Philip Virgo (DSC0034)

214 Q 221 (Andreas Schleicher)

216 Q 16 (Professor Brown), written evidence from OECD (DSC0016) and RSE (DSC0030)

218 Q 3 (Oliver Quinlan), written evidence from The One Voice for Accessible ICT Coalition (DSC0033), BCS (DSC0051), QA Limited (DSC0069), NIACE (DSC0088), Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092), UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101) and TalkTalk (DSC0105)

219 Written evidence from RSE (DSC0030)

220 Welsh Government, ‘Review of Assessment and the National Curriculum for Wales’: [accessed 9 February 2015]

221 Q 97 (David Hughes), Q 103 (Helen Milner), written evidence from RSE (DSC0030), City & Guilds (DSC0044), UKForCE (DSC0078) and TalkTalk (DSC0105)

222 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

224 Q 23 (Professor Brown), Q 161 (Mark Chambers, Jack Evans), Q 248 (Chris Jones), written evidence from OECD (DSC0016) and Humber LEP (DSC0060)

225 Written evidence from NIACE (DSC0088)

227 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

229 Q 144 and written evidence from RSE (DSC0030)

230 Written evidence from Barclays Bank (DSC0047)

231 Ofsted, ‘Ofsted Annual Report 2013/14 published’: [accessed 10 December 2014]

232 Witten evidence from Ukie (DSC0086)

233 Initial Teacher Training (ITT) is the recruiting and training of skilled teachers.

234 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) refers to training for existing teachers.

235 Q 148 (Charlie Taylor, Sir Andrew Carter), Q 150 (Sir Andrew Carter), written evidence from ITTE (DSC0050), BCS (DSC0051), ALT (DSC0057), UKForCE (DSC0078) and Ukie (DSC0086)

236 The National College for Teaching and Leadership (NCTL) is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Education (DfE). It offers head teachers, school leaders, senior children’s services leaders and teachers opportunities for professional development. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

237 Supplementary written evidence from NCTL (DSC0113)

238 Ibid.

239 Q 149 (Charlie Taylor)

240 Q 263 (Ed Vaizey MP (£3.6 million)) and written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

241 At date of evidence submission by UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

242 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

243 Written evidence from ITTE (DSC0050)

248 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

249 Written evidence from Tinder Foundation (DSC0077) and NIACE (DSC0088). See also footnote 193.

250 Written evidence from Digital Youth Academy and Pera Training (DSC0029), RSE (DSC0030), Elix-IRR (DSC0046), IET (DSC0049) and UKForCE (DSC0078)

251 Skills Funding Agency (SFA), Statistical First Release: Further Education & Skills: Learner Participation, Outcomes and Level of Highest Qualification Held (November 2014): [accessed 7 January 2015]

252 Prime Minister’s Office, ‘Maths and science must be the top priority in our schools, says Prime Minister’: [accessed 7 January 2014]

253 Written evidence from ALT (DSC0057)

255 Q 238 (Martin Hottass, Chris Jones), written evidence from Elix-IRR (DSC0046), UKForCE (DSC0078), Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092) and TalkTalk (DSC0105)

256 Q 238 (Martin Hottass)

257 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

258 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

259 The New Engineering Foundation is an independent educational charity and professional body that supports improvements and innovations in science, engineering and technology education. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

260 The New Engineering Foundation carried out a three-year study of further education colleges. See: New Engineering Foundation, Inventing the Future: Transforming STEM Economies (July 2014): [accessed 20 January 2015]

261 Q 98 (David Hughes), Q 117 (Karen Price), Q 200 (Angela Harrington), Q 260 (Nick Boles MP), written evidence from McAfee (DSC0022), Dr Lisa Payne (DSC0031), Management Consultancies Association (MCA) (DSC0040), IET (DSC0049), KTN (DSC0056), Humber LEP (DSC0060), NMI (DSC0062), Prospect (DSC0064), Open University (DSC0065), QA Limited (DSC0069), iRights (DSC0108), National Library of Wales (DSC0117), Northern Ireland Government (DSC0125) and supplementary written evidence from Microsoft (DSC0006)

262 Q 172 (Paul Hynes), Q 244 (Chris Jones), written evidence from Philip Virgo (DSC0034), Virtual College (DSC0039) and Sanjeev Appicharla (DSC0042)

264 For example, written evidence from Humber LEP (DSC0060) said: “Hull College has a Cisco Networking Academy, which delivers industry recognised certifications.”

268 Q 119 (Karen Price)

269 Ibid.

271 Q 110 (Helen Milner), Q 119 (Karen Price), Q 134 (Iain Wood), Q 235 (Martin Hottass), written evidence from Citizens Online (DSC0005) and TalkTalk (DSC0105)

272 Q 41 (Mike Warriner, Chris Mairs), Q 232 (Sue Husband and Martin Hottass), written evidence from City & Guilds (DSC0044), Here East (DSC0048), KTN (DSC0056), UKForCE (DSC0078) and Ukie (DSC0086)

273 Written evidence from QA Limited (DSC0069)

275 In 2012, the NAO recorded that each £1 in public funding for adult apprenticeships earned a return of £16 at the intermediate level and £21 for advanced level apprenticeships (£18 across all levels). See: NAO, Adult Apprenticeships (February 2012): [accessed 18 December 2014]. See also: UK Commission for Employment and Skills, International approaches to the development of intermediate level skills and apprenticeships: Case Study Report, Evidence Report 42—Volume 2, February 2012 (2012): [accessed 9 February 2015]

276 House of Commons Library, Apprenticeship statistics, Library Standard Note, SN06113, February 2014

277 SFA and BIS, ‘FE data library: apprenticeships’: [accessed 6 February 2015]

278 Written evidence from IET (DSC0049), KTN (DSC0056), London Borough of Camden (DSC0058), learndirect (DSC0066) and UKForCE (DSC0078)

279 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

280 The Government has committed £40 million to support an additional 20,000 higher apprenticeships and has agreed financial support for particular sector apprenticeships. The Welsh Government agreed an additional £20 million to provide an extra 5,650 apprenticeships in 2013/14 and 2014/15, of which 2,650 will be higher-level apprenticeships. In 2014 the Scottish Government announced that it would increase the number of places available year on year from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020. The Northern Ireland Government has announced a commitment to higher level apprenticeships.

281 Provisional figures for 2014/15 are available for August to October only.

282 Q 206 (Dinah Caine), written evidence from Digital Youth Academy and Pera Training (DSC0029), IET (DSC0049), BCS (DSC0051), KTN (DSC0056), NMI (DSC0062), CBI (DSC0074) and Ukie (DSC0086)

283 Q 235. See also Q 232 and written evidence from City & Guilds (DSC0044)

284 IT technicians need to have completed at least the equivalent of a work-based level three apprenticeship that meets global standards. See written evidence from BCS (DSC0051)

285 Written evidence from London Borough of Camden (DSC0058)

287 Q 41 (Chris Mairs, Mike Warriner) and written evidence from Bath Spa University (DSC0004)

288 Most apprentices in England are in the 19–24 age group (36.1%) followed by the 25–34 age group (16.9%). After 60+ (0.6%) the smallest proportion is age 16 (5.8%), then age 17 (8.8%). See: SFA and BIS, ‘FE data library: apprenticeships’: [accessed 29 January 2015]

289 ONS, ‘Labour Market Statistics, July–September 2014’ (Table A05, Labour market status by age group): [accessed 5 February 2015]

291 The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (age 16 to 24) scheme provides £1,500 to employers with up to 1,000 employees to encourage businesses to take on new apprentices aged 16 to 24. See: SFA, ‘Apprenticeship grant for employers of 16 to 24 year-olds’: [accessed 30 December 2014]

292 Q 232 (Sue Husband), Q 254 (Ed Vaizey MP), Q 258 (Nick Boles MP), written evidence from MCA (DSC0040), City & Guilds (DSC0044), London Borough of Camden (DSC0058), CBI (DSC0074), UKForCE (DSC0078), HM Government (DSC0084), UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101) and Northern Ireland Government (DSC0125)

293 Q 232 (Martin Hottass)

294 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101) and Tata Consultancy Services (DSC0106)

295 Written evidence from BCS (DSC0051)

297 Written evidence from KTN (DSC0056) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

298 Q 199. See also written evidence from Humber LEP (DSC0060)

300 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

302 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

303 Written evidence from RCUK (DSC0055)

304 BIS, Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth (December 2011): [accessed 20 January 2015]

305 ONS, ‘UK Gross Domestic Expenditure on Research and Development, 2012’: [accessed 29 January 2014]. “In 2012, the UK’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD), in current prices, decreased by 2% to £27.0 billion compared with 2011. Adjusted for inflation, in constant prices, research and development (R&D) expenditure decreased by 3%.”

306 WEF, The Global Competitiveness Report 2014–2015 (2014):–14.pdf [accessed 7 January 2015]

307 This was based on statistics published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency. See: Higher Education Statistics Agency, ‘Performance Indicators: Employment of Graduates’: [accessed 18 December 2014]

308 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

310 ONS, Full Report: Graduates in the UK Labour Market 2013 (November 2013): [accessed 18 December 2014]

311 Which? University: [accessed 5 February 2015]. There was no data available for the London School of Economics, as it does not offer Computer Science as a subject.

313 Written evidence from Open University (DSC0065)

314 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

316 Written evidence from The UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

317 See paragraph 164.

318 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

319 The National Careers Service is run by the SFA. It was established in April 2012 and is responsible for advice about careers and skills in England. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own individual services. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

321 Careers Service Northern Ireland: [accessed 15 December 2014]

322 Skills Development Scotland: [accessed 15 December 2014]

323 Careers Wales: [accessed 15 December 2014]

324 Q 236 (Martin Hottass, Chris Jones), written evidence from City & Guilds (DSC0044), IET (DSC0049), KTN (DSC0056), CBI (DSC0074), UKForCE (DSC0078), Science Council (DSC0096) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

327 Written evidence from City & Guilds (DSC0044)

328 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101). A survey of 5,500 teenagers (aged 12–13) was conducted at a series of TeenTech events during 2012/13, which revealed that 74% said they intended to go to university, 9% were thinking about apprenticeships, 9% wanted to go straight into a job, and the remainder did not know.

329 Written evidence from CBI (DSC0074)

330 Q 236 (Chris Jones). See also: Institute for Fiscal Studies, Research Report DFE-RR160, Subject and course choices at ages 14 and 16 amongst young people in England: insights from behavioural economics (October 2011): [accessed 22 January 2015]

332 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

333 Q 218 (Baroness Shields), Q 236–237 (Martin Hottass), written evidence from MCA (DSC0040), NMI (DSC0062), UKForCE (DSC0078), Ukie (DSC0086), BT (DSC0091), Chartered Institute of Public Relations Social Media Panel (DSC0094), Science Council (DSC0096) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

334 Written evidence from CBI (DSC0074)

335 Q 236 (Chris Jones) and written evidence from KTN (DSC0056)

337 Ibid.

338 Written evidence from IET (DSC0049)

342 Q 218 (Professor Dame Wendy Hall)

343 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

344 Q 113 (Maggie Philbin), written evidence from Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

347 Q 232 (Chris Jones)

348 UK Digital Skills Taskforce, Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World: Interim Report (July 2014): [accessed 8 December 2014]

349 Written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

350 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

352 Analysis carried out in May 2014 by jobs website provided evidence of the growing demand for digital jobs. Of the tens of thousands of roles posted on their site, vacancies within the ICT category represented more than one fifth (22%) of the total.

353 O2, ‘Parents’ analogue ambition could damage UK competitiveness’: [accessed 8 December 2014]

354 Ibid.

355 Written evidence from Digital Youth Academy and Pera Training (DSC0029)

357 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

358 Written evidence from Samsung Electronics UK (DSC0092)

359 Q 123 and written evidence from UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

360 Written evidence from UKForCE (DSC0078)

362 Written evidence from Elix-IRR (DSC0046), IET (DSC0049), Humber LEP (DSC0060), Tony Harper (DSC0075), Chartered Institute of Marketing (DSC0076), Creative Skillset (DSC0095) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

363 ‘Lloyds Bank confirms 9,000 job losses and branch closures’, BBC News (28 October 2014): [accessed 20 January 2015]

364 ‘Sainsbury’s snatches No 2 spot from Asda’, The Guardian (13 January 2015): [accessed 6 February 2015]

365 Q 41 (Chris Mairs), Q 51 (Mike Warriner), Q 87 (David Hughes, Professor Martin Weller), Q 116 (Maggie Philbin), QQ 200–201 (Gerard Grech, Gary Warke), Q 207 (Dinah Caine), written evidence from Barclays Bank (DSC0047), IET (DSC0049), Tony Harper (DSC0075) and Go ON UK (DSC0079)

366 Q 31: “… about 13.5 million jobs need filling in [the] next 10 years and yet there are only 7 million young people entering the labour market in that period. There is a 6.5 million gap”.

369 The Hartree Centre is a Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) high performance computing (HPC) facility based in the North West of England. The Centre looks at supercomputing, Big Data analytics and visualisation, which it tries to apply to industrially relevant problems. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

374 Ibid.

375 Skills Development Scotland, Skills Investment Plan: For Scotland’s ICT & Digital Technologies sector (March 2014):

376 Written evidence from Scottish Government (DSC0128)

377 Q 32 (Kevin Baughan), Q 46 (Mike Warriner, Chris Mairs), Q 55 (Antony Walker), Q 114 (Karen Price), Q 215 (Professor Hall), written evidence from British Sky Broadcasting (DSC0036) and Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP (DSC0054)

378 Q 214 (Baroness Shields, Professor Hall)

379 BIS, ‘Government supports UK’s next generation of cyber security professionals’: [accessed 26 January 2015]

380 Codecademy is an online learning website where users can learn how to code interactively for free. See: [accessed 29 January 2015]

381 Q 46 (Mike Warriner)

382 QQ 93–95 (Professor Weller, David Hughes), Q 131 (Lucy Hastings), written evidence from KTN (DSC0056) and UK Digital Skills Taskforce and TeenTech CIC (DSC0101)

384 Written evidence from Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (DSC0045)

385 Written evidence from Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (DSC0045)

389 For instance, Tinder Foundation, Code Club and Age UK.

391 Q 21 (Professor Wajcman), Q 22 (Professor Brown) and written evidence from KTN (DSC0056)

392 For instance the Law conversion course (otherwise known as the Graduate Diploma in Law) allows graduates of any degree to ‘convert’ their degree into a recognised law qualification in one year.

393 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

394 Ibid.

395 Ibid.

397 Written evidence from RCUK (DSC0055)

398 Written evidence from IET (DSC0049)

399 Written evidence from HM Government (DSC0084)

400 Written evidence from Innovate UK (DSC0070)

402 The Recruitment & Employment Confederation is the professional body for the UK recruitment industry, representing over 3,500 corporate members, who together account for around 80% of the recruitment industry by turnover. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

403 Written evidence from REC (DSC0035)

404 For instance, see written evidence from McAfee (DSC0022), Here East (DSC0048) and Sunderland Software City (DSC0063)

405 For instance, Q 63 (Guy Levin), Q 70 (Marcus Mason), Q 80 (Dominic Field), written evidence from REC (DSC0035), Tony Harper (DSC0075), Ukie (DSC0086), Makers Academy (DSC0119) and Imperial College London (DSC0122)

407 The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014–15, ‘Engineering and Technology’:–15/subject-ranking/subject/engineering-and-IT [accessed 10 December 2014]

408 Written evidence from Makers Academy (DSC0119)

410 Science and Technology Committee, International Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) students (4th Report, Session 2013–14, HL Paper 162), paragraph 110

412 Tata Consultancy Services is one of the top 10 technology firms in the world. It is the 7th largest IT services supplier in the UK and has over 150 customers, including British Airways, Marks & Spencer, Boots and Aviva. Tata Consultancy Services employs over 11,000 people across the UK, from Edinburgh to London and beyond. See: [accessed 2 February 2015]

413 Written evidence from Tata Consultancy Services (DSC0106)

415 The Digital Youth Academy is a training provider which specialises in supporting the digital sector. Pera Training is a national independent training provider, and is a delivery partner of the Digital Youth Academy. See: and [accessed 2 February 2015]

416 Written evidence from Digital Youth Academy & Pera Training (DSC0029). See also written evidence from BT (DSC0091)