According to data from the World Economic Forum (WEF), closing the global skills gap could add $11.5 trillion to global GDP by 2028. In the UK, nearly two in three (64%) report spending more on recruitment, with costs increasing by 49 per cent or £1.23 billion in total because of the skills shortage.
In a bid to help tackle the growing skills crisis, IBM has announced over 170 new partnerships and programme expansions in more than 30 countries across the world and is improving its existing programmes and career-building platforms to expand access to education and in-demand technical roles.
In the UK, IBM said that the West London-based Ada Lovelace Church of England High School has joined its P-TECH programme, an online platform that offers free technical skills required to be successful in the digital economy. Students are set to benefit from access to foundational knowledge on topics like cyber security, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing.
IBM plans to educate 30 million people through its broad combinations of programmes, including collaborations with universities and key government entities. These partnerships will also extend to NGOs too, such as the British Refugee Council.
“Talent is everywhere; training opportunities are not,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM chairman and CEO. “This is why we must take big and bold steps to expand access to digital skills and employment opportunities so that more people – regardless of their background – can take advantage of the digital economy.
“Today, IBM commits to providing 30 million people with new skills by 2030. This will help democratize opportunity, fill the growing skills gap, and give new generations of workers the tools they need to build a better future for themselves and society.”
This week, Vodafone found that digital literacy is becoming as important as reading and writing for young people’s future life prospects. Limited access to an internet-connected device, or lack of skills to use one, is preventing people entering the jobs market from attending exams or online lessons, gaining the necessary digital skills, and applying for jobs. 29% of respondents to the report said they had to share a laptop, tablet, or PC for work, education, or leisure in the past year.