Horses for courses: Do today’s A-level results matter to the needs of a CTO?

Finally! Students across the country can breathe a sigh of relief as the nail-biting wait for results comes to an end.

For the students walking out of the school gates today with lower grades, they will thread a much more precarious career path. As CTOs look to hire new staff, so often, these people are overlooked, but taking into the account the current digital skills crisis, is this obsession with exam results justified?

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Widening the digital talent pool

At the moment, the UK is suffering from a major digital skills shortage which is threatening to hamper business productivity.

According to the Shadbolt review, a government-commissioned report, by 2022 some 518,000 additional workers will be needed to fill roles in digital industries – this is three times the number of computer science graduates produced in the past ten years.

>See also: How digital skills in apprenticeships can prevent a skills blackout …

With record numbers of young people gaining degrees, it begs the question, how full proof is the traditional idea that a degree equals a career?

A recent study found that 11.7% of UK computer science graduates spend six months unemployed after completing their degree.

One of the reasons this happens relates to the sheer rate at which technology evolves. There is an ever-increasing gap between what is being taught in higher education and the skills required for a job

Horses for courses

According to Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise: “The UK needs to address its unhealthy obsession with exam results. Measuring the talents of a whole generation on academic attainment alone is insulting to a large portion of young people who choose a different path in life.”

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“Already the annual A-level results announcement feels a bit like Groundhog Day, with the success of entrepreneurs and technical apprenticeship schemes going largely unnoticed. It’s time to start promoting business skills and recognising that these qualities are just as important as exam grades, if not more so, particularly with so many employers warning that high-flying students are seldom prepared for entering the world of work.”

The idea of running a carefully considered apprenticeship scheme makes a lot of sense. Not only does a company get to pluck from a more substantial number of applicants, but an organisation also gets to tailor it to their specific needs.

The apprenticeship levy

Last year, the UK Government launched the apprenticeship levy, an initiative designed to increase the number of apprenticeship programmes.

As part of the Government’s bid to create three million new apprenticeships by 2020, many businesses today remain in the dark over how to utilise it.

>See also: Apprenticeship Levy funds: an opportunity to boost technical expertise

In a nutshell, every employer with a wage bill of over £3 million will pay a new 0.5% Apprenticeship Levy on their annual pay bill to help fund this initiative and boost training for millions of apprentices.

After a company pays its levy, the funds are distributed into a digital apprenticeship service account which can be used to fund an apprenticeship scheme.

Rufus Grig, CTO at Maintel: “With the apprenticeship levy now firmly in place, businesses ought to be utilising this scheme to train and upskill the top talent to train our future leaders. The perception that apprenticeships are for those to enter the world of manual labour belongs in the past – today, apprenticeship schemes are available for professionals looking to earn while they learn across a wide range of sectors.”

CTOs must not overlook the opportunity in this legislation to train up recruits.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future

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