Growing the nation’s digital skills

October 5, 2020
Growing the nation’s digital skills

©️ Photo: Dom Martin Photography

Last month, Avado featured in the first event of The Scale Factor, with Richard Haynes (Chief Commercial Officer) joining our expert panel to discuss how to fix the skills gap, which disproportionately affects the tech sector in the UK.

We caught up with Richard to find out his views on the importance of growing the nation’s digital skills, and how Avado is leading the way in supporting young people in the early stages of their careers…


What do we mean by ‘digital skills’, and why is upskilling in this area so important now?

Digital skills covers everything from effectively analysing data to marketing via online channels to softer skills like thinking digital-first and using all of the technology available to you to progress your career. In a 2019 report from McKinsey & Company, it was revealed that 21 million workers – two thirds of the workforce – might lack the digital skills employers will be looking for in 2030. Five million of those workers might also be acutely under-skilled when it comes to digital abilities.

In the UK, it is likely that there will be a continuing digital skills gap in the coming years, even though it is the number one skill employers are looking for. Schools are not adequately providing young people with those skills, which means the upskilling programmes Avado offers such as Fast Futures, digital marketing qualifications like Squared Online and virtual workshops like those in our Data Academy, are vital. Ongoing upskilling opportunities are essential to students, employees and for the UK economy as a whole.


Why has the Fast Futures programme been so successful?

The Fast Futures programme is an ideal blend of the skills employers want and Avado’s unique learning design. Throughout the application process, we’ve put a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. With backing from amazing employers, we’ve delivered a programme that has resonated with young people and helped them achieve success as they start their careers.


How has the pandemic affected career opportunities for young people?

It’s bleak. Young people are facing a severe lack of job opportunities. One in six companies have cancelled their summer internships, and more than 50% are at least reducing or changing them. As a result of the pandemic, 61% of apprentices have been made redundant, have been furloughed or can’t access their learning. The Resolution Foundation think tank has warned that an additional 600,000 people under 25 could be in need of benefits.

Right now, the country is facing the sharpest economic contraction in modern history, and one of the groups that will suffer most is the cohort of 800,000+ young people who are leaving education and trying to kickstart their careers in 2020. At the same time, the country has never needed digital skills more. This combination means we run the risk of inflicting a double blow on ourselves, with a wasted generation and a crippling shortage of those the skills that will allow the UK to recover . We can continue to turn the second half of 2020 into a breakthrough, though, by giving those young people the skills employers are so actively seeking.


Richard Haynes headshotAbout Richard Haynes and Avado

Richard is the Chief Commercial Officer for Avado – the fast growing connected learning provider, and a founder partner of FastFutures – an exciting initiative helping to build the most diverse and digital-ready pool of talent for the UK.

Avado is a professional academy that helps people and global organisations through interactive learning experiences in data, marketing, digital, agility and people. We build new skills and mindsets through capability programmes, professional qualifications and quality apprenticeships.

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