I often talk about the need for education within the security industry, both for those of us who already work and operate in the sector, but equally about the need to fully educate the next generation of security professionals.
Unfortunately, it is apparent that there is quite a considerable skills gap, not only in the security industry but across many other technical industries in the UK – something that has been of concern for a considerable amount of time.
Taking the Right Steps
It is somewhat disappointing to see the current skills gap as I believe the UK Government started to take the right steps some five to seven years ago by reintroducing the concept of apprenticeships. We will always need excellent academic qualifications and trained people, but equally a stint in further education is not for everyone.
Apprenticeships are a superb way of bringing young and hungry talent into the industry for on-the-job training. This isn’t just academic training, it also provides a healthy dose of business experience as well – something that is more of a challenge in traditional academia.
There has also been a lot of buzz about ‘T-Levels’ – literally Technology Level courses that offer the right, specific training, for modern technology needs. I am very pleased to see technology education being promoted in this way and appealing to students that want to build a solid career in the UK technology sector.
Comparing our Neighbours
In my opinion, we are still somewhat behind our European cousins when it comes to technology education and training. Take Germany for example, a country that has traditionally excelled in technology and training for it.
The German education system has focused heavily on engineering and vocational-based training programmes, which have paid dividends for its technology sector. The country has also continued to focus on this for decades, meaning it has an excellent pipeline of trained talent on tap.
UK Technology Needs
The UK skills gap across all sectors has been filled over the last few years with a healthy influx of very talented individuals from across Europe. TDSi has benefited from this open and vibrant skills market, supplementing the best of our local UK talent with that from the European mainland and beyond.
With the Brexit deals on the horizon, I sincerely hope that this valuable source of skilled professionals from Europe won’t simply dry up. At the very least, it’s essential that the UK continues to open its doors to this talent until we can reap the new generations of home-grown UK talent, which is coming up through the education system and through other training initiatives such as apprenticeships.
I think it’s quite telling that when you look at some engineering faculties in UK universities, they often have half or over half of their students from other countries. We have education facilities that are world-renowned and something to be proud of, and yet we are still not educating enough engineers from the UK!
Looking to the Future
I hope that the needs from Brexit will help to spur the UK education system into closing the skills gap. We have some of the best education potential in the world and a long history of innovation and entrepreneurial skills to make technology highly commercial.
I hope a general, keen interest in technology (just try separating a millennial person from their smartphone!), along with apprenticeships and T-Levels will all create the opportunities and passion to close the UK skills gap and ensure our economy continues to grow and develop as we will need it to.