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Government To Introduce Digital Skills Technical Qualification

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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Digital will be one of the first three T-Level technical qualifications set for introduction in 2020 to help stem the UK’s growing skills shortage

A digital programme will be one of the first three technical qualifications to be introduced, the government has announced, as part of a scheme to build up the UK’s levels of IT and other skills following exit from the European Union.

T-Level technical qualifications are part of government skills training reforms dating back to November 2015, which aims to combat a growing skills shortage – including a shortfall of digital skills amongst UK citizens, forcing a growing reliance on trained staff from abroad.

Skills crisis

Those plans gained a new urgency following the vote to leave the EU last year, with many skilled staff indicating they may leave the UK once it’s no longer in the European Union.

The T-Levels are intended to be a new vocational alternative to A-Levels.

school, educationEducation secretary Justine Greening said a digital T-Level would be introduced from 2020 alongside construction and education and childcare.

“We are transforming technical education in this country, developing our home-grown talent so our young people have the world-class skills and knowledge that employers need,” Greening said.

She said the government would seek to make T-Levels “as rigorous and respected as A-levels”.

Greening said the choice of the first three courses was a direct response to the economic challenges posed by exit from the EU.

“As we prepare to leave the EU, it is more important than ever that we create an outstanding further education and skills system, giving all young people the opportunity to fulfil their potential and deliver a better future for our country,” she said.

Enterprise involvement

A total of 15 T-Levels are to be introduced for students aged 16 to 19, with the remaining courses, including health and science and environmental and animal care, to be introduced by 2022.

All of the 15 areas are to include work placements, with some, including social care and transport and logistics, consisting primarily of on-the-job apprenticeships.

SMBCommercial enterprises including tech firms such as IBM, Fujitsu and Autodesk are to have a role in designing course content.

Other contributing companies include EDF, Rolls Royce, Lloyds, Skanska and Morphy Richards.

Quality control

The government has said it will invest £500m per year into T-Levels, once all the courses are running.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said it was important the technical qualifications represented the same level of achievement as A-Levels.

“There is still much for companies and the government to address together,” stated CBI managing director of people and infrastructure Neil Carberry. “It’s important these new technical routes are woven into the wider education system from the start, to ensure they are respected and seen to have the same quality as A-levels.”

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