How can we get young people into tech?

Despite the disruptions of the last two years, school-leavers are entering a booming job market, and tech in particular is full of new opportunities. Yet tech companies of all sizes are struggling to fill jobs, with tech roles making up 13% of unfilled vacancies in the UK.

But despite the obvious benefits of a career in tech, companies of all sizes – from small start-ups to multinational corporations, are struggling to fill their vacancies, with jobs in tech making up 13% of all UK job vacancies nationally.

With investment in UK tech start-ups soaring to £13.5bn in the first half of 2021, it’s an exciting time for tech, but to future-proof this progress, it’s vital to find ways to get young people into the sector. 

The gaming sector skyrocketed during lockdown, with 62% of UK adults playing games. This has given rise to a cornucopia of job opportunities, from game programmers to software designers to professional playtesters. Yet the talent required to keep growing this sector currently isn’t there, and Brexit has made it harder to source talent from abroad.

This means we’re going to have to train and upskill homegrown talent, to make it clear that university isn’t the only route into high-level tech jobs, as apprenticeships and in-house training programmes are growing in popularity.

We need to get young people interested early and make them aware of the opportunities in industries like gaming and other tech sectors like AR and FinTech, as well as the skills they’ll need for success. Gaming and esports events can create a buzz that gets young people excited about studying gaming at university or getting an apprenticeship to develop their digital skills. 

Maintaining the UK’s status as a world leader in tech is vital to our post-pandemic recovery, and that means we need to work with universities, companies and community groups to strengthen our talent pipeline. We need to challenge the status quo and come up with new and creative ways to get young people inspired about studying and working in tech. That means we need to normalise apprenticeships and training as an equally valid route to the top that merits as much respect as a university degree.

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