Common digital skills language to boost employability of IT grads

The Tech Partnership is set to deliver the government’s Digital Strategy commitment to create a common digital skills language to help educators and young people better understand the skills industry needs.

The project acts on Dr Nigel Shadbolt’s recommendation to increase the employability of computer science graduates. Specifically, his review revealed a lack of clarity about what skills and capabilities entry level recruiters require of candidates and whether universities are providing them to students. With 52% of UK businesses in the digital industry reporting ‘hard to fill’ vacancies, increasing the pipeline of talent into digital roles is a top priority for companies across the economy.

The demand for a common, user-friendly directory of job roles and their typical capabilities has been driven by concerns that employers and course providers – universities and FE colleges – use different terminology for job and course adverts. The result is confusion for entry-level applicants. Career advisers, including editors of careers websites, also need a common terminology to advise students effectively.

The Tech Partnership will assess the significant disparities in the requirements of different organisations looking to recruit for the same role. This will reveal how job titles and skills requirements vary between organisations, sectors and size for entry level technical job roles.

IBM Graduate Programme Leader, Jenny Taylor said: “To tackle the skills crisis we, as a community of digital employers and educators, must be clear about what skills we need to fill digital roles.

“Developing a common understanding of job roles will help more graduates progress into digital careers, provide more relevant skills for employers and deliver better results for universities. All of us have a stake in this project.”

The Tech Partnership is now seeking input and guidance from industry, universities and FE colleges via a survey on terminology used by employers and educators to recruit students into courses and jobs. It will then, led by universities and employers, analyse the responses and agree how they can explain digital careers in ways that are more accessible and attractive to young people.

If you are an employer, complete the employer survey (deadline now extended to 28 July)

If you are an educator at a university or HE/FE college, complete the HE/FE survey (deadline: 28 July)

You will be able sign up for updates on the project through the surveys.