Our industry has done so much advocacy in the last few years trying to get students interested in IT and considering our strong efforts to bridge the digital skills gap, it is almost inconceivable that we are still so short of achieving our goals.

Yet, as we make our way into spring 2015, the digital skill shortage is still a big issue. According to the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee, 35% of UK jobs will be at risk of being automated over the next 20 years. What’s even more worrying is that the committee says the UK government is failing to address the issue.

Committee chair Baroness Morgan describes the report as a wakeup call to the next government following this May’s general election.

What’s even more surprising is that digital literacy is still fighting to become a core competency at schools alongside English and maths.  For the UK to solve this issue and become a digital leader, the report recommends making digital literacy a core subject at schools. It also recommends that the internet should be regarded as a utility, similar to electricity or water.

The report also emphasized another glaring setback, the lack of women in digital studies. With 4,000 people studying computer science, fewer than 100 were girls: 2.5%. Some recent research completed here at CompTIA demonstrates an average of 13% females taking our exams in Q3 2014. This was in international study and highlights that the UK is lagging behind other regions.

Despite the success of IT apprenticeships and the new computing curriculum – which commenced last September – the overarching issue appears to be that the UK does not have enough teachers confident in delivering digital skills. Over half of the UK’s IT teachers do not have a post-A level qualification relevant to IT.

Ensuring our teachers are qualified surely begins at higher level education level where there needs to be input from industry recognized organizations. This was also observed by Baroness Morgan who added that there is urgent need for industry input, so graduates are learning skills relevant to digital jobs. As the voice of the world’s information technology industry with industry-leading vendor neutral IT certifications, CompTIA is ideally placed to support.

CompTIA Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) certification, is an international, vendor-neutral certification that covers core instructor skills, including preparation, presentation, communication and evaluation in both a classroom and virtual classroom environment.

The exam covers planning prior to the course, methods and media for instructional delivery, instructor credibility and communications, group facilitation and evaluating the training event.

Dell, Microsoft, Ricoh and IBM recommend that their trainers be CompTIA CTT+ certified.

We are at a pivotal moment in the UK’s economy. With the general election in May, the new government will need to build a digital workforce capable of competing with the rest of the world. Failure to do so will result in the UK falling even further behind in the digital age and the race to skill its workforce.