IT Brief UK - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
Tech leaders urge UK government to invest in AI skills training
Fri, 23rd Feb 2024

A Parliamentary Skills Summit, organised by the Parliament Street think tank, hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford and chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR, has seen leaders from the technology industry call on the government to make significant investments in equipping the future generation with digital AI skills.

During the meeting, proposals were presented to encourage academic institutions to partner more closely with business leaders in order to upskill and reskill workers nationwide. The event, which took place in Parliament, saw the presence of more than 80 academics, technology leaders, and industry experts, culminating in the finalisation of the country's plans for AI skills.

Addressing the gathering, Stuart Munton, Chief for Group Delivery at AND Digital, emphasised, "Closing the digital skills gap is our top priority, and we are working with businesses, charities, and community groups to upskill the nation. With AI set to transform traditional job roles, it is crucial existing workers and the next generation are equipped with the skills they need to excel in a rapidly changing world."

Simon Ward, CEO and Founder of Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) echoed these sentiments, stating the need to address the digital skills deficit should be treated as a top priority. Ward added: "Getting access to staff with the latest skills and spreading this knowledge across the workforce is vital for companies seeking to maintain the competitive edge. Economies that embrace and optimise the latest digital capabilities will thrive in the long term, those that fail to do so will inevitably fall behind."

Joining the debate, technology expert Lior Sion highlighted the relevance of cutting-edge knowledge for the new generation of startup businesses. He said: "In the current era, this means they must be fully equipped with the latest AI and digital skills. From my experience working with many fast-growing companies, I know first-hand how crucial a team with the latest technical capabilities is for enabling organisations to thrive."

Also participating in the conversation, Dr Fadi Kherdaji of the Laser Eye Clinic London emphasised the importance of adequate support, training and encouragement for the next generation to excel in critical areas such as science and technology. "It is vital that the next generation is empowered to pursue a career in key subjects like science and technology."

"If we want to build a truly digital economy, then we have to have the talent pipeline in place to enable it to thrive. We need world-class clinicians, coders and technicians, and they can only excel with the right training, support, and encouragement to do so," said Dr Fadi Kherdaji. 

Additionally, Elizabeth Anderson, CEO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, drew attention to the digital poverty crisis gripping Britain, which she believes should be tackled by businesses, schools, and the government. She commented: "Despite many eye-catching initiatives in recent years, around 11 million people still lack essential digital skills. In an increasingly digital world, with AI reshaping the workplace, urgent action is required so that everyone is equipped with core digital skills to thrive, whatever their background."