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Digital Skills: Bridging the gap

This week our Social Media Intern, Chloe talks about kick starting a career in digital marketing.

I am new to the world of digital marketing, in fact I have only been trying my hand at this type of work since the turn of the year. I graduated from university last year with a degree in Criminology but didn’t really have a direction I wanted to follow until I was presented with the opportunity to take up a social media and marketing internship in January. Yes, it’s different but it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to taking on.

The world is advancing in so many ways, and none more so than in the technology and digital industries. This means that jobs are being created to meet this demand and it is predicted that within the next 20 years, 90% of all jobs will require some relevant digital skills. These skills can range from simply being confident using a computer to design and software development.

Various programmes to target the digital skills gap are in place in cities such as The Juice Academy in Manchester and Liverpool Girl Geeks and Innovators Hub in Liverpool which I was very lucky to be a part of. Liverpool Girl Geeks run a variety of programmes, predominantly for girls from a range of age groups (but boys are welcome too) to teach them how to code by making it fun. This industry is typically seen as one where it is difficult for women to get into and this is evident when we see that only 17% of people who work in the tech sector are women.

Now I can speak from experience by saying that universities don’t always do enough to prepare their students for the workplace once they graduate. I may not have done a degree such as Marketing, Advertising or Design but I didn’t leave feeling prepared or knowing what my degree alone could lead me to. In comparison, Graduates with a degree in STEM subjects are high in demand but there just aren’t enough people graduating in this area to meet the demand. Furthermore, computer science graduates have the highest unemployment rate of any degree course at 10% after six months of graduating. One of the reasons given for this is that they are not leaving University with the technical or professional skills which employers are demanding.

One way that this problem is being addressed is the introduction of the new degree apprenticeships. These will provide an alternative to your traditional degree as they are designed by employers to make sure that those taking part have the skills the industry needs. They are also a great opportunity to learn and earn because they will still receive a degree but will also be paid for the duration of the course. Young people today are the future of our country so it is vital that they are provided with digital skills sooner rather than later.

In terms of the challenge that I touched on at the start, I am tackling it head on. Whilst I lack the experience, I am making up for that by completing online courses such as Digital Garage and by doing an internship. Digital Garage is providing me with the knowledge which I can develop and apply in the workplace. I believe that internships are a great way to learn and develop skills as well seeing how agencies in this industry work.

Claire Critcher

2nd May 2017