Management > Skills

IT industry group CompTIA sets out General Election manifesto

David Bicknell Published 05 June 2017

Organisation’s agenda calls for action on cross party endorsement of UK digital strategy and wants digital skills to be a core component of all apprenticeships


Three days before the General Election, IT industry body CompTIA has launched a manifesto outlining recommendations to all political parties on what can be done to secure the UK’s digital future.

The Computing Technology Industry Association is the world's leading technology association, with around 2,000 member companies, 3,000 academic and training partners, over 100,000 registered users and more than two million IT certifications issued.

Its manifesto outlines five key proposals for the next UK government to guarantee that the nation’s digital economy continues to thrive.

It wants to see cross party endorsement for key parts of the UK’s Digital Strategy, including digital skills, investment, infrastructure and regional hubs.  It argues that this will give certainty to UK businesses and citizens to take the actions needed to make the UK a global leader in digital.

It also argues that digital skills - benchmarked to industry standards - must be a core component of all apprenticeships. It argues that all political parties must make digital skills a core component of apprenticeships alongside Maths and English in their manifestos. It follows a recommendation made by the House of Commons Science and Technology Select Committee in the last Parliament. It wants the government to continue engagement with private sector training providers to ensure high quality standards in apprenticeships now and into the future.

CompTIA also has thoughts around digital skills qualifications. It says, “For a world-class technical education system, the UK must avoid a ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital skill qualifications. All political parties must seek a more flexible approach to T-levels.

“In A-Levels, there are seven national exam board awarding bodies (across England, Wales and Northern Ireland) from which colleges and schools can choose qualifications. A similar broader qualification approval system for T-Levels would allow existing digital skill training qualifications, which are internationally recognised and endorsed by business to be incorporated.”

A fourth recommendation is that the UK needs collaborative local careers advice that promotes digital careers and local digital job opportunities. It says cross party scrutiny on how local SMEs can be involved productively in this careers advice process, as well as measures to tackle outdated stereotypes, will be important if such a forum is to be successful.

Finally, it says, SMEs must be at the heart of the UK’s digital strategy to lead to success in areas such as tech ecosystems and skill pipelines. It wants the next government to put SMEs at the heart of the digital agenda. Two areas in particular identified in the manifesto to back this SME-centric focus are regional tech ecosystems and specialist skill pipelines.

Graham Hunter, Vice President, EMEA at CompTIA, said, “The digital market has become of vital importance to the UK’s economy, highlighted in a recent report from Tech Nation, which revealed that there are 1.64 million digital jobs in the UK, and new jobs are created at over twice the rate of the non-digital sector.

“As such, it is important that whichever political party comes into power on June 8 ensures they have a plan in place to guarantee that the technology sector continues to grow and thrive. With monumental political negotiations slated to take place as the UK leaves the EU, it is vital that the government takes into account what potential impacts these will have on the digital economy and have the tools and information available to make the best decision for the sector and nation as a whole.

“CompTIA has launched this manifesto, on behalf of the UK technology industry, to help all political parties understand what needs to be addressed to ensure that the UK continues to thrive as a digital hub. From digital strategy through to developing a world class technology workforce, whichever party is in power must look to work with organisations and bodies within the sector to secure a prosperous technology industry, and sustained job creation for a healthy UK economy in the future.”

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