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Putting digital skills at the heart of education – FE News

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Putting digital skills at the heart of education - FE News

Over the last few years, the word “cyber” has become increasingly important, especially as the pandemic in a very short period of time has forced a much larger part of our lives online.

Businesses had to respond to this changing landscape to survive, but educators and, indeed, politicians were not in such a hurry. Changing the curriculum or creating new qualifications is not so quick and easy, but the fact is that employers in cyberspace are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit as many people as they need to support their fast-growing business.

The irony is that most young people are very good at phones and other everyday technologies. They grew up using this and it has always been a very important part of their lives. But developing the true digital skills needed to start a business, develop software and protect data is what is really needed.

The recently published National Cyber ​​Strategy sets out some very clear requirements for strengthening the cyber ecosystem. A genuine partnership between industry, educators and government is fundamental to securing the future of the sector and ensuring that we, as a country, retain the technical expertise needed to remain at the forefront of an increasingly cyber-oriented world.

Employers need to be part of the solution, and AWS is a great example of that. For the past six years, they have conducted an annual project for students of several FE colleges – posing a real-life challenge that requires young people to create digital solutions to problems. Students work in groups for twelve weeks, exploring the business world with the support of various experts. At the end of the project, students present their ideas to the jury, presenting awards and feedback.

Over the years, this project has resulted in individual talented students being offered training and experience working with AWS and other employers. It is important that these are students who usually do not get the opportunity to get into such an environment and may not fit into the usual “boxes”. Many are from poor families and low-income families, but many also have tremendous devotion and talent and just need to be given a chance.

To fill skills gaps, it is these people we need to support and we need to give them access to opportunities. It is not just about young people – it is about giving people of all ages the opportunity to improve and retrain their skills through training courses, training camps and mentoring.

The CyberHub Trust is a social mobility charity that recognizes the importance of career skills and access to opportunities.
From elementary school children to adults, everyone needs to know about career paths that exist in brand new areas, and support them to embark on those pathways.

Each CyberHub is a significant part of the local community, accessible not only to students but also to residents of all ages through training courses and experience days. This interaction makes cyber careers more attractive and more accessible to people who would never see it as a potential employment opportunity. A win-win option for the future employee, the employer and the economy as a whole.

Our focus in the CyberHub Trust is on bringing groups closer together and facilitating relationships; we can introduce employers to FE colleges that have access to the necessary skills channel. This is exactly what AWS does, and helps them recruit very talented recruits who are introduced to the workplace and given the chance to develop critical employment skills that make excellent employees.

In the future, as more and more CyberHubs open in FE colleges across the country (with BMet being the latest addition to the network), we encourage employers and colleges to recognize the importance of being part of the solution.

Our world is moving so fast, and along with it are many exciting opportunities that we need to provide open to everyone, regardless of background and demographics.

Well Julia von Clanowski, Director of Digital Skills Consulting and Chair of The CyberHub Trust

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