The former education secretary Lord Kenneth Baker has produced a new report calling for schools in the UK to make digital skills a crucial part of the curriculum. The report also warned that in the future, as many as 15 million professional and white collar jobs could be under threat from artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.
The Digital Revolution report recommends an overhaul to the current education system in which preparing students for vital digital and IT roles in the future becomes a top priority over other subjects. According to Lord Baker, who is the new chair of the vocational education charity Edge, young people need to be taught the vital skills for the digital economy of the future. Explaining how the advance of robotics and AI could affect future jobs and why investing in digital skills is a safeguard against this threat, Lord Baker explains:
“The economy is changing at an unprecedented pace. Every day, jobs are being lost in professions we used to regard as careers for life. Artificial intelligence, robots, 3D printing and driverless vehicles will impact on sectors as varied as the legal profession, transport and construction.
“The UK’s future workforce will need technical expertise in areas such as design and computing, plus skills which robots cannot replace – flexibility, empathy, creativity and enterprise.
‘Right now, this thinking is almost entirely absent from the core curriculum in mainstream schools.”
Amongst the recommendations put forward in the report are the following:
- Schools should be teaching computer science to GCSE level, in the place of modern languages
- At least half of all GCSE students should be taking computer science exams at that level
- All primary schools should have 3D printers and design software as standard
- Apprenticeships should be available from the age of 14 – where academic curriculum and core subjects are combined with hands-on learning and experience
- Outside experts should be brought in to teach coding
How will this help employers?
Employers already worried about the huge digital skills gap, where there is simply not enough talent available to help the UK achieve its full digital potential, are likely to support the recommendations in the report.
More young people receiving digital skills training as part of their core education, from as young as primary school age, means a stronger stream of talent coming up through schools, colleges and universities. Companies can also make good use of eager individuals who have completed apprenticeships, rather than waiting for them to complete degree courses. With young, enthusiastic talent with experience of real world digital roles, it is possible to mould, develop and invest these individuals – all with the aim of safeguarding the future of the business.
SOLOS Recruitment Consultants are specialists in finding the very best talent for digital, tech and IT roles, from eager, talented graduates to seasoned, experienced professionals. If you have a vacancy to fill, get in touch with the SOLOS team today.
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