There is a second more damning headline for this article: 

Universities failing to prepare students for careers in tech

They're interconnected. 

On the one hand, since the pandemic, a quarter (22%) of 16-17-year-old have decided to pursue a career in tech. This boom driven by our reliance on technology to feed ourselves physically and socially during Covid lockdowns, as well as Gen Z's search for security - a stronger pull than both previous generations. 

This is great for employers.

Every single employer (can you think of an exception?) needs tech talent and struggles to find it. It's widely reported that we're heading towards, if not already in, a digital skills shortage disaster

Side note: The newest Avenger - Boris Johnson - has a plan make the UK a Science Superpower so we'll all be alright in the end, folks.  

Back on point now... Employers need more young people to be intrinsically, actively interested in learning tech skills and careers in STEM. 

Outreach activities do motivate students in secondary education towards science and technology topics. A fantastic example here by Thales who run a STEM Education Outreach programme

But having seen hundreds of school sessions during my career, I know that there's only a small percentage of students (single figures) in each class who really want to listen to you talk about tech careers. If we can ride on this surge in interest, and drive that number up, then up goes the size of the candidate pool when they're ready to think about apprenticeships. 

Employers - if you do not already have a schools outreach programme, now is the time to put one in place and capitalise on this self generated flow of interest. 

OR 

If that is too difficult with staffing pressure, you can achieve the same result with virtual work experience programmes. 

OR

If that is too much upfront work, let us to the leg work and run a digital campaign for you. 

Employers who make an impression on students NOW will have a head start on their competitors. 


On the other hand.... students in the study reported in this article clearly point to the gap between the university experience and entering their first tech role. A fifth of all respondents (21%) declared that tech courses at university do not provide the valuable post-degree business insights that they need when they start work. 

I'm not surprised by this. 

When I researched whether graduate programmes are dead, ousted by degree apprenticeships, the #1 reason this played out was because employers were not getting the skills they need in the graduate labour market. Preferring instead to grow their own through tech apprenticeship standards. 

It is easy to get involved with university courses. There are so many ways (see list below). 

What is NOT easy is finding the time to do this. The number of hours in the day is fixed. The amount of resource you have is fixed, or decreasing, or has decreased.

If your business needs tech talent, you need to let a partner (ahem.... us..... PeopleScout) take the burden from you, ensure you give an even better candidate experience, and you get to strategically influence your candidate pool and the capability of your hires. 


All in all - a self generated increase in tech careers is utterly wonderful and absolutely needed. Employers can leverage this for the benefit their business, the overall economy, and most importantly for the students themselves - access to an exciting, world-changing career. 


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8 examples of employer engagement in University curriculum 

  1. Employers in the lecture room 
  2. Employer advice on the curriculum 
  3. Work-based learning 
  4. Work-related learning 
  5. Mentoring relationships 
  6. Employability modules 
  7. Accreditation programmes 
  8. Sponsorship and scholarships  

This handy list came from Reading University* and I am they would love to hear from you.

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Other super stats in this article: 

  • Women were more likely to be encouraged by teachers/education (54%) than men (29%)
  • Men are more likely to have parents that took STEM subjects (44%) than women (21%)
  • 7% of young professionals found it ‘very easy’ to find their first role  
  • Women were more likely to find it hard (31%) compared to men (21%)
  • Most young tech professionals are encouraged by their academic establishment to join large organisations upon graduating (46%) 
  • 23% of graduates are given no career advice at all
  • Over half of women (54%) also rated the guidance they received as ‘poor – neutral’ compared to only 41% of men.

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* Reading University was chosen at random from a long list of employer engagement resources.