New technologies such as Cloud Computing, 5G, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence will have a profound effect business productivity. The ability to access powerful computing resource, in the cloud, at low cost means vast amounts of data can be analysed and measured at speed, with results presented visually and while on the move. The implications then for the skills that employees will need in the future are far reaching as most companies will have to embrace technology or risk being left behind. Added to that is the Governments stated intent for the UK to be a “Technological Superpower”, there’s no hiding from technology in the 21st century.

Do you need technical skills?

However, many young people are not attracted to technology companies because they’re not technically minded, it’s a misconception that needs to be addressed. Just because you’re not technical it doesn’t mean that you can’t work for a technology business. I work with hi-tech start-ups and many of our founders are not technical, they just saw a business opportunity that technology could solve. Indeed, to build a successful technology business you need more than just good engineers or developers, you need people that can commercialise it too. You need people who know how to do business management, sales, marketing, finance and support.

There are also roles that perhaps you wouldn’t normally associate with technology but as our world is increasing more visual, creative and artistic people are needed that can design compelling user interfaces or virtual worlds and augmented experiences. Then there are roles that didn’t exist in the past, for example, the growth in data processing has created new roles for data analysts and scientists.

Future Generations

Taking all this into account, it is then imperative that we help shape careers guidance in our schools and colleges, that we get young people to realise that opportunities exist in in technology companies for the technical and the non-technical. It is my belief that establishing a vibrant technological community can act as a catalyst for this.

Having a place where young people can engage with technology and tech companies, can open their eyes to future career options, but that community also needs to reach out to education. It is in all our interest to ensure there is a local skills base to support the growth of technology companies in Basingstoke, but we must engage and support schools and colleges with their career programmes.

Rebuilding Society and the Economy

Entrepreneurship is also something we should actively promote. Start-up businesses will be essential in re-building the economy after Covid so encouraging young people with that mindset to start a business rather than get a job is to be commended because those new companies will create new jobs.

Industry and education working together can create a positive spiral that will fuel the economy going forward, but we must start. Companies must participate, we can’t leave it for somebody else to do. We all need to play our part. Make the effort to get into schools and colleges, promote your business, highlight the careers opportunities and realise the positive spiral that will benefit us all, become an EM3 LEP Enterprise Adviser.