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Sponsored | Helping Scottish Employers Bridge the Digital Skills Gap

Staff Writer

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digital skills

The CodingSkills+ scheme has boosted the skill sets of unemployed or low-income adults, giving employers the talent to fill digital roles.

CodingSkills+ by The Open University launched in Scotland earlier this year and if you are planning to hire for software development, data analysis or related roles, it could be just what you’re looking for.

Under the scheme, 100 unemployed or low-income adults are learning key software development skills that will boost their employment prospects and help plug skills gaps for Scottish employers.

The 13-week programme has been designed with both participants and employers in mind. Participants, who include those who have been made redundant or furloughed as a result of Covid-19, will be given careers and employability support during the programme, as well as learning new technical skills.

At the same time, the scheme gives organisations across Scotland the opportunity to grow and diversify their talent pool in a skills area that is in high demand and short supply.

The scheme is fully funded by the Digital Start Fund, meaning there is no cost to participants. Managed by Skills Development Scotland, the £1 million Digital Start Fund has two aims: to help people find employment through digital training and to bridge the digital skills gap.

A digital skills shortage

Currently, Scotland, like the rest of the UK, suffers from a shortage of digital skills. The Open University’s Bridging the Digital Divide report highlighted the scale of the problem: over 74% of Scottish businesses said skills shortages are having a negative impact on profitability, with 49% also saying that shortages are impairing their ability to implement new time or cost-saving technologies.

Moreover, the April 2020 ScotlandIS: Scottish Technology Industry Survey found that 32% of businesses are specifically looking for people with Python skills, the core skill taught on the scheme.

Organisations can use the CodingSkills+ initiative to boost their digital capabilities and adapt to the changing business and working landscape. By investing in digital skills, employers are also investing in new ways of working. In turn, this will enable employers to maximise opportunities and achieve productivity gains.


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Suzanne McQuade, The Open University’s Business Relationships Manager for Scotland, says the scheme will be hugely beneficial to local employers. “We understand the challenges that organisations face in attracting and retaining digital talent in an ever-changing world of work,” she says.

“We can support employers to both onboard new employees and continue their development by providing a range of flexible solutions. These solutions include fully funded Graduate Apprenticeships, funded short course training available to small to medium-sized enterprises via the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, or supporting individuals to access the Part-time Fee Grant for more traditional undergraduate higher education.

“Whether seeking to upskill and reskill existing or new staff, The Open University works in partnership with organisations to plug skills gaps and to create a sustainable talent pipeline that meets industry needs.”

In Autumn 2021, there will be a new round of Graduate Apprenticeships in Software Development available to employers. Employers could use the CodingSkills+ scheme as a pre-employment training programme that paves the way onto Graduate Apprenticeship roles.

Get in touch today

To find out more about how CodingSkills+ by The Open University can help you develop a talent pipeline for your organisation and to get involved, please visit: open.ac.uk/business/looking-expand-your-organisations-digital-talent-pool

DIGIT Staff Writer Robot

Staff Writer

Staff Writer - DIGIT

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