I have been working with Chris Pont, chairman of IJYI, on skills and apprenticeships in tech and the opportunities we can offer students. We are working together to make it easier for small and medium sized enterprises, those with payroll under 2 million who aren’t part of the apprenticeship levy scheme, to hire apprentices.
Chris is running a degree apprenticeship scheme in computer engineering for young people to gain digital skills. The world of tech is fast-moving and constantly growing, so it is more important than ever that we give students the right skills to keep up with the changing needs of the job market. Chris was also in Parliament earlier this year to give evidence to the Education Select Committee on tech and skills education.
Starting in September, students will spend one day a week at Suffolk University and the rest at IJYI, as part of the 3-year degree apprenticeship. With 2/3 to start with, there are then plans to scale up. BT currently have 50 students on the scheme, with the intention of giving young people the skills they need to stay on in the industry. This degree apprenticeship is exactly the kind of thing we should be promoting, as it enhances skills training in our local people as well as contributing to the local economy. My view is that we need a lot more skills training and apprenticeships but this will only happen if it’s easier for small and medium sized businesses to hire. It can’t just be big businesses, and we need to offer the right support for small businesses.
I’m working with Chris to see how we can expand these opportunities, as well as make sure that students in the local area have access to careers advice and know exactly what is on offer for their futures.
Huge thank you to Chris and the team at IJYI for putting so much energy and commitment into getting this scheme up and running.