Posted on May 8, 2017 by staff

Skills gap? Both youth AND experience ‘key to tech success’


Employers must be open to turning to youth and lowering requested levels of experience to harness the power of digital.

That is the view of Hayden Evans, creative director of leading digital agency Rippleffect, who says that the oft-cited skills gap in technology is not all that it seems.

“I’m not convinced that the real gap is one of skill. I believe the real gap is in expectation on both employer and young employees’ behalf,” he told BusinessCloud.

“Digital companies need to open up to taking on less traditionally experienced staff, nurturing them and at times giving them space to learn, but at all times listening to them as well, they were born into a digital world.”

Rippleffect’s head office is in Liverpool while it also has a base in London. Its clients include football clubs Arsenal, Everton and Liverpool, UK Sport, the island of Guernsey and Late Night London.

Evans added that it is also key for youngsters to be patient and realistic about what they can achieve early in their careers.

“Potential employees need to ensure their ambition doesn’t outstrip their talent or knowledge,” he said.

“The best will be absorbed by what they do through continually practising, reading, attending, meeting and researching.”

The success of Liverpool’s thriving creative and digital sector is now being undermined by the widening skills gap.

Rather than pay expensive recruitment fees, a group of companies in the city have joined forces to tackle it head-on through the 10-week Catalyst programme.

Aimed at 18-30-year-olds hoping to get their foot in the door of the digital industry and those already in work seeking to brush up on their skills, around 40 companies have signed up to the programme with most holding workshops, talks and providing studio tours.

The initiative is the brainchild of entrepreneur Robyn Dooley, who founded the Innovators Hub after leaving her college course in fashion at the age of 17.

Developer Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital & Centric, provided the Tempest Building free of charge to stage the weekly training sessions.

The initial Catalyst programme has been so successful it now looks certain to be repeated and could be rolled out across other cities facing a similar skills gap problem.

At ‘Tackling Liverpool’s digital skills gap’, BusinessCloud will hear from some of the driving forces behind the Catalyst programme and see if the model could be used elsewhere.