NEWS28 October 2021

Government asked to fund industry training programmes

Data analytics News Public Sector UK

UK – The government should address the UK’s digital skills crisis by supporting industry-led jobs and skills training programmes, according to the Market Research Society (MRS), the Advertising Association (AA) and the Data and Marketing Association (DMA).

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A statement from the three industry bodies called for a portion of increased money for the National Skills Fund announced in Wednesday’s Budget to be dedicated to industry-led qualifications to help fill thousands of job openings across the country.

The Budget, which was presented to parliament by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, announced £1.6bn for expanding the T-Levels scheme to 16 to 19-year-olds, £550m for adult skills in England and £830m to modernise colleges.

The three industry bodies said that despite some recent government schemes, such as digital boot camps and the Help to Grow scheme, more was needed to achieve the ambitions of the national data strategy, which was published last year and sets out plans to increase data literacy and skills nationwide.

Industry-led training programmes would be developed by employers and ensure professionals had the right skills for the modern labour market, the industry bodies said, and help address a lack of digital and data skills among existing employees across the country.

Jane Frost, chief executive of MRS, said: “The recovery and growth of the research sector is being jeopardised by a shortage of skills.

“Companies in our sector, particularly small and medium enterprises, are being priced out in a bidding war for talent. The need to solve this is immediate and reskilling older workers is vital.”

Chris Combemale, chief executive of the DMA, said: “The government is missing a huge opportunity to reduce the vast digital skills gaps that exist across the economy and should allocate a specific budget to trade association qualifications.

“Trade and professional bodies are best placed to help with their strong industry connections and understanding of the skills that employers require most.”

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of the AA, said: “There is a desperate shortage of digital marketing and advertising talent.

“AA research shows that £1 spent on advertising generates £6 of gross domestic product. For this investment to be successful it is critical that digital marketers know how to plan a campaign, determine the right channel strategy and can create compelling content that engages their customers.”