It’s only five months until computing becomes a compulsory part of the primary school curriculum, representing a bold and important step towards making sure our young people have the skills that they need for the jobs of the future.
We know that if we’ve got teachers who can confidently and enthusiastically teach any subject, then we’ve got a much greater chance of getting more kids excited about that subject and the doors that it could open for them. Computing is no exception, and that’s why today, Microsoft and CAS are announcing a £334,000 investment to help prepare tens of thousands of teachers for the new computing curriculum from September.
Currently, the games industry in the UK employs around 30,000 people, and it’s growing. We need more talented, creative individuals to help us maintain the success of our games industry. Added to that, there are 20,000 graduate vacancies a year in the software industry, and almost ten times that number of vacancies in fast-growing sectors like media, publishing and finance. It’s simple – our young people need computational skills. What’s more, whilst we’re struggling to find the talent we need to fill these jobs, other countries are snapping at our heels and churning out thousands of graduates every year. In any given hour, 24 computer science students graduate in China. In Poland – a much smaller country – four students graduate each hour. We’re far behind them both, with less than one person graduating in computer science every hour. We need to focus more on helping young people develop these skills if they are to have any hope of competing for the jobs of the future.
If we start from the grassroots – developing computing skills, showing kids the exciting jobs that are out there and encouraging them to look at careers in gaming and technology, then we’ll have more chance of being able to build a pipeline of talent to support our economy. But it’s not just about working with primary school children. We – that’s technology companies, the government, parents, teachers – need to be making sure that we’re supporting talent all the way up the ladder, from children to graduates to indie developers to entrepreneurs, or we’ll see these industries developing on a larger scale elsewhere.