Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the technology sector continues to thrive across the South West.
For example in Bristol, tech has overtaken engineering as the fastest-growing industry with more than $1bn invested in the city since 2014.
According to research by Tech Nation and job search engine Adzuna, the average salary in Bristol is £51k which is £15k higher than the average salary in the city, and recently there were 1,965 IT-related job openings, the highest of any industry in the city region. 430 tech companies now operate in Bristol employing over 8,000 people.
It’s important to also note that the pandemic is spurring tech adoption across all sectors, from financial and legal services, health, retail and agriculture, as we evolve the way we live and do business.
The Lloyds Bank Transformation with Tech report (2020)confirmed that almost half (48%) of businesses stated that they would have ceased trading last year had they not used technology.
This equates to roughly 2.7 million businesses across the UK. 11% have set up ecommerce since March, more businesses are using cloud software and analytics capabilities. More than half of businesses have been influenced to invest in tech, but three-quarters need help with digitisation.
However, there is still a challenge for employers to access tech talent. A competitive recruitment market is evidenced by software developer being the highest ranked job vacancy in the West of England recently.
Education providers, including Weston College, are rising to the challenge to provide job-ready tech talent for employers, supporting employers with their digital strategy.
The College is offering the new Digital T Level course, a skills-focused alternative to A Levels designed by industry, with students receiving industry training to enter tech roles. Hundreds of students are spending time on industry placements with employers alongside their course, applying their skills and providing an extra pair of hands for employers.
In addition, tech degree apprenticeships continue to grow in numbers as students choose the work-based route and achieve a degree with no debt. Employers are accessing four years degree level training for their staff which is 95% funded by the government for SMEs as an attractive option.
Precision Dippings Manufacturing Ltd, a manufacturing business in Bristol have recently offered a degree apprenticeship in digital technology.
Kate Richards, Director at PDM said: “We are a Bristol-based rubber manufacturing business and are proud of having won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for innovation in 2016 and another for international trade in 2019. We decided to recruit a digital and technology solutions degree apprentice because, knowing innovation is key to company growth, we wanted someone on our team who could specialise in digital analysis and help us with our e-commerce plans. We’re delighted with the very positive impact the apprenticeship has made – especially during the pandemic when online sales have never been more important.”
Dave Crew, Head of Employer Partnerships at Weston College said: “With digital skills being fundamental to economic growth and recovery, Weston College continues to engage with and listen to employers ensuring we understand the support businesses need to thrive, whether it’s upskilling the existing workforce or accessing future talent. We have been working with leaders across the tech industry to evolve our offer to ensure Weston College is the training destination for tech talent.
“We’ve developed and streamlined our website to make is easier for employers to understand and access the wealth of learning opportunities and expertise available. Discover the newly created TECH WESTON web page, and see the range of bespoke training, online courses, skill-specific bootcamps, apprenticeship programmes to industry placements: www.weston.ac.uk/techweston”
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