Eleven up: Championing the next gen of tech pros

The tech sector pulsates with a thrilling, sometimes chaotic, energy. Change happens so fast; it feels like the right leg strides forward before the left even knows it’s moving. 

Each day, headlines bombard us with news of tech for good, or tech (and its developers) behaving less than optimally. The constant battle between good and evil plays out vividly in global debates around AI and its potential to help or harm society. 

No matter your stance, technology and its advancements are here to stay. We must embrace its value in both our personal and professional lives. 

Recently, the “Scotland: A Technology Nation” debate in the Scottish Parliament highlighted the impressive achievements of the Scottish tech ecosystem. However, a recurring theme concerned the shortage of STEM-focused teachers and the widening educational gap. 

Political discussions aside, Scotland boasts numerous thriving and hardworking tech companies. Yet, their future hinges on attracting talented individuals. 

It’s time to proactively support and champion the next generation of IT professionals. Why? They’ll be the ones carrying the torch of tech innovation forward. 

However, the ever-growing IT skills gap casts a long shadow, no matter how much we talk about it. 

Instead of adding to the discourse on the widening gap, we decided to tackle it head-on. Partnering with our client ETB Technologies, we supported around 60 S1-S6 students at Dalbeattie High School in a series of workshops during their first Digital Conference. 

These sessions covered everything from hardware engineering to digital marketing, showcasing the diverse range of roles within the tech sector. 

Why such a broad scope? Data from Glassdoor (2020) revealed that 54% of UK tech company jobs are non-technical. While technical roles of course exist, companies also require sales and marketing professionals, both directly and through agency partnerships. 

Technical jargon can be intimidating – and in some cases it can put people off careers in the tech sector – so exposing young people to the vast array of tech jobs helps dismantle potential entry barriers. 

As Marian Wright Edelman, Founder and President of the Children’s Defence Fund, once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Therefore, those in or around the tech sector must ensure today’s youth recognise the opportunities that await them tomorrow. 

These workshops may be just a first step but imagine the impact if the entire Scottish tech ecosystem (and its partners) joined forces to deliver similar initiatives in their local schools. 

Grassroots collective action is essential to create the tech sector of tomorrow. Are you up to the challenge?