The Human Face of Digital

There’s no doubt about it, the future is digital. From the way we consume to the way we communicate, our reliance on digital skills is only set to increase.

Despite this reliance, the government is still warning enterprises about a gap between the digital skills required, and those that are actually on offer.

In the UK alone, 72% of large companies and 49% of SMEs are suffering tech skill gaps. A 2016 House of Commons report estimated that the digital skills gap is costing the UK economy around £63bn a year in lost income.

Despite leaps and bounds in technologies, it is the human side of the equation that we need to reconsider when it comes to addressing this skills gap. In order to attract and develop the next generation of digital pioneers, we need to communicate with young innovators directly, understanding their aspirations and supporting them in their digital education.

That’s exactly what we’re focusing on this month, with a partnership with the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College (MET) and involvement with Wired Sussex’s Talent 2017. These opportunities allow us to share our own insights and to learn in turn from the young people who will soon be driving the digital economy.

What challenges do future digital innovators face?

A 2014 report found that one of the biggest contributors to the digital skills shortage was a failure by parents and teachers to understand the opportunities offered by the digital sector.

The constantly-changing nature of technology and online communications make it all the more difficult for older and younger generations to have meaningful conversations about the digital workplace - and therefore many students find it difficult to get the support they need in training for a digital career.

Maggie Philbin, leader of the Digital Skills Taskforce, stated that “we need our young people to see technology and related applied sciences as a future that they can help create.”

More than ever before, technology belongs to all of us - and particularly to young people, who always seem to be one social trend ahead of the curve. It’s important to show students how important their voices are in the way the digital world progresses.

So how can we support aspiring innovators as they prepare for a career in digital?

Firstly, we need to increase general awareness of the benefits of a digital career, and secondly we need to offer constructive and creative outlets for young people to get answers, support, and inspiration.

"We need our young people to see technology and related applied sciences as a future that they can help create.”

What are we doing to help?

This month, we’re proud to be providing that support ourselves. On March 6th Naomi, an aspiring digital designer from Brighton MET, met Bozboz’s digital marketing specialist Katie.

Katie answered questions about the digital industry and offered tips for starting out in a creative career. She was inspired by Naomi’s artistic passion, and enjoyed discussing the many creative outlets that a digital agency can offer.

By meeting a creative digital worker, students like Naomi are able to visualise their potential futures beyond the abstract, and ask questions that their parents and teachers may not be able to answer.

On March 17, we opened our doors to 8 more students from Brighton MET as part of Wired Sussex’s Talent 2017 festival. This experience day allowed young people from across Brighton and Hove to experience the digital and creative sector in an immersive, hands-on way.

Over the course of our half-day creative workshop, we hope that our 20 future creatives will grow to understand the vast range of work we do - from meeting with clients to designing websites to creating social copy - and understand the full scope of a the digital sector.

Even more, we hope they see the vast range of talents and personalities that come together to create a thriving digital agency. We want to spread the message that as long as you have the passion to learn, there’s room for everyone in the digital world.

What’s next?

The work we’re doing this month is just a small step toward the world we hope to see, in which every student in the UK has the chance to meet innovators and learn digital skills.

Part of the responsibility for creating that world lies with the education system. We need to develop a curriculum that teaches the digital skills necessary for young people to thrive.

We also need to see more institutions like the MET, which is investing in the necessary technology and talent to ensure that young people are learning the skills they need in a way that inspires them.

On the other hand, it falls to digital brands and businesses to reach out to young people and show them the opportunities available to them. There’s a remarkable amount of power in simply being visible - both online and in the community - and demonstrating an authentic and creative culture.

Beyond that, how better to support the next generation of digital pioneers than by hearing their questions and offering insights? Not only does this give aspiring creatives a new perspective on their future careers - it also shows them that their voices are already heard and valued by the digital community.

When it comes to choosing future careers, we think that will make all the difference. That’s why we’re reaching out to educational establishments, inviting a new generation of creative talent to ask questions, share ideas and experience the digital industry first-hand.

If you’re an educational establishment and would like to join us in sharing our digital skills with the next generation, contact us today.