Tackling the IT Skills Gap: Degree or Apprenticeship?

The IT industry is failing to attract enough new talent, even though the latest A-level results suggest more people than ever will go on to University to study science, technology, engineering and maths.

The results from this year showed that 13,650 people sat A-level computing and ICT, 8,301 of whom attained grades A* to C.

However, a recent study from the BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, states that the skills gap threatens to affect the future of the UK economy unless people with the right skills enter the IT workforce.

Recently, there has been a growing interest in alternatives to University education, both from an employer and a student perspective.

Back in March 2014, companies including BT, ITV and Virgin Media announced apprenticeship schemes creating 20,000 openings for apprentices.

Mark Ridley, director of IT at online recruiter Reed.co.uk believes an increasing number of employers are realising the value in developing young talent, without the expectation of a degree level qualification.

He added: "This is vital to the health of the British industry and the wider economy."

Charlotte Holloway, head of policy at techUK added: "It's great that the recently announced £29.5m Tech Partnership will directly support 2,750 apprenticeships. This represents a big win for employers and school leavers alike."

A computer science degree is not necessarily vital for a career in IT. The current challenge for IT leaders looking to recruit new talent is that organisations tend to have a bias view towards traditional education.

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