Ask my six-year-old what he wants to be when he grows up and, without hesitation, he’ll bark “I want to make video games”.
I’ve lost count of the times he’s told me that school’s “boooorring” and he wants to go to video game school which would be way more fun.
If I’m honest, it’s an ambition I’d half hoped he’d grow out of, but after attending a tech event this week, I realise he’s more clued up about the future of work than I am.
London Tech Week brings together some of the biggest players in the digital field to discuss the state of the industry. The question that kept coming up again and again was what is the UK going to do about its chronic digital skills shortage?
Do you agree? Have your say in the comment section
The industry agrees immediate and drastic attention is needed. And a recent report by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport revealed there are almost 235,000 UK jobs currently vacant that require data skills.
There was also an unanimous plea for the education system to put technology at the heart of the curriculum.
From where I’m sitting, that certainly doesn’t appear to be happening.
My eldest son took and then quickly dropped out of GCSE computing while courses to teach my video game enthusiast to code or to get into tech are ludicrously expensive. If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that the future will be all about the tech sector, and at the moment, we are woefully under preparing our children for what lies ahead.
Tech has its own PR problem. Too many young people think tech is only for kids that are good at maths and science. The technologists I met on Monday assured me that is far from the truth.
There are jobs for people with so many different skill sets and the sooner young people are introduced to the sector the easier it will be for them to land one.
The UK is by no means the only country facing challenges in this area, but it’s lagging behind countries like the US, Singapore, Sweden and Denmark.
Coincidentally Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the Swedish founder of tech firm Klarna, revealed he got his first computer from a government scheme.
Before he was dumped as education secretary, Gavin Williamson decided one of his key objectives to help make society more equal for state school children was to learn Latin. He even sank £4million into a pilot scheme for 40 UK schools. Doesn’t this show just how out of touch our education system is on this?
There was certainly consensus from industry movers and shakers that schools and teachers must adapt to the needs of the tech industry. If not, the repercussions for future generations don’t bear thinking about.
Get all the latest news straight to your inbox. Sign up to one of the Mirror’s newsletters