With technology so prevalent in modern society and a whole generation having grown up surrounded by it, it’s reasonable to expect that the UK workforce is flush with viable candidates for roles that specialise in digital skills.

But it seems the reality is quite different. The surge in demand for these areas of expertise is not being met by the supply of those coming through after finishing their educational careers. So, exactly how big of a problem is this skills shortage? And how can schools help to provide the solution?

The tech skills shortage: What does the research tell us?

According to The Learning & Work Institute, the number of students taking IT-based subjects at GCSE level has fallen 40 per cent since 2015 — a shocking statistic. Especially when you consider the widely held view that educating our young ones on these topics can actually have a beneficial impact on their overall learning — a theory backed up by data gathered by Okdo.

In response to Okdo’s study, 96 per cent of teachers reported that teaching their students about computer science helped to improve their skills in other areas. And if we break those numbers down further, 82 per cent believed it increased a child’s problem-solving capabilities, while 68 per cent felt it enhanced their mathematical development and 60 per cent their creative thinking.

What are the other benefits of teaching tech in schools?

As well as the opportunities for personal development mentioned above, there are plenty of additional benefits to ensuring IT skills are taught in schools. For example, it helps to prepare younger generations for working life. Almost all industries use tech in some shape or form as part of their daily operations, so that familiarity will help to set students up and get them settled into new roles without needing as much training.

It also teaches children how to access information online and practice their research methods. This will stand them in good stead if they are to go on to further education, where they will be expected to produce detailed, thorough papers that are backed up by secondary sources.

Add in the fact that it can introduce a fun element to learning, as well as teaching students how to act responsibly online, and it soon becomes evident that the advantages are vast and varied.

All of this is backed up by Richard Curtin, Senior Vice President of Technology at OKdo, who says:

We’ve long believed that computer science education gives kids more than just the obvious IT skills — it’s also helping children to improve their confidence in teamwork, problem-solving, communication and much more’.