Students in digital technology are gearing up for the future at Newcastle College, as they prepare to close the North East’s digital skills gap.
Curriculum leader at the college, Phil O’Neil gives an insight into how his students are getting ‘work ready’ ahead of embarking on a career in the digital industry:
The existence of a ‘digital skills gap’ is a hot topic for debate in some companies, with a whole host of differing opinions on its validity and extent. Should the skills gap be a genuine problem, then a new solution is required as past efforts have only caused it to widen.
Routes into employment continue to fluctuate in popularity, with degree students being slightly overtaken by apprentices, but all things considered the playing field has levelled out. Technical skills taught in both methods of education are invaluable when it comes to employers looking for new recruits. However, many prospective employees face difficulties in the traditional interview format and miss out on opportunities consequently.
The term ‘work ready’ is often misinterpreted, and there are a series of stock answers which employers fall back on for a definition. When asked, many employers refer to ‘soft skills’, and they regard any further qualifications as a bonus. For graduates, the benchmark 2:1 degree is often a signifier to many employers that they are taking on the right candidate.
Despite this, interviewers are disregarding technical skills and favouring the ability to:
Hold eye contact
Keep a conversation flowing
Present themselves suitably
Demonstrate good work ethic
Have good interpersonal skills