Welcome to our roundup of news that matters for UK startups! This week we’re addressing digital technology – and the dichotomy existing between dynamic business growth and the apparently under-developed digital skills of the larger populace.
One solution is to bring experts in from outside the EU; another is to encourage ramped up adult training and STEM education in our school systems. For now, both routes will be necessary to meet the demands and retain the strong position currently held by the UK tech scene.
There is a Digital Skills Gap in UK. Author Rory Cellan-Jones weaves a tale showing the impact of having a nation behind the times in an age where digital ignorance can be devastating. The post outlines results of the research by the Make It Digital project (in part supported by BBC), which culminated in a Digital Exclusion Heatmap. The map was produced by charity organisation Go On Uk, which champions the expansion of basic digital skills.
As robots and artificial intelligence crept into our societies, many people were quite intimidated when their labour was displaced by mechanical processes. Unfortunately, it was perceived as more intimidating than it truly was. After all, it takes digital skills to programme the robots, and technical expertise to craft a system of operations. And, it’s humans who are dreaming up the ideas in the first place.
According to author Dina Medland, the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills numbers show that a record 5.4 mill private sector businesses were in motion at the beginning of 2015, with 62pc of them owned by sole traders. Though home-based businesses have their challenges, those entrepreneurs tend to have a much greater grasp on IT – inherently it’s their connection with the world.
The post speculates that those who see technology as an IT function, rather than an all-encompassing bigger picture, are doomed. Of note is the research of Pat Chapman-Pincher and her March of the Robots…Into the Boardroom white paper bringing boardrooms and executive teams into the future.
One pointed statistic Chapman-Pincher found was that “more than two-thirds (68%) of boards are making piecemeal investment decisions about technology rather than taking a holistic view of the business and its future.”
Just this past week a brand new government-endorsed scheme has set the stage for incoming tech talent to fill the needs of UK businesses. (TechCityUK has webpage dedicated to the Tech Nation Visa Scheme details.) To retain its place in the global digital economy, it’s critical to make it easier for those with exceptional skills and experience to be recruited.
Accelerating UK startup growth has been an ever-expanding effort for the past few years, and taking community feedback into consideration there are now 4 new qualifying standards for our technology sector:
- Building UK Scale-Ups – the scheme gives companies a fast-track path to recruit the best talent right when it’s needed.
- Recognition of “Exceptional Promise” – as a new criterion helps to bring in a broader base of aspiring talent to fill precise gaps in the available workforce.
- Supporting the Northern Powerhouse – Tech North will now offer visa guidance to those companies in the areas of Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield and Sunderland.
- Overseas Team Recruitment – beginning the 12th of November, 2015, teams of up to 5 members may apply at once, in order to attract high-performing crews with proven records of collaboration and creativity.