Views and announcements

Preparing today’s tech talent for tomorrow

  • Louise Hull, Apprentice Programme Manager at Fujitsu NI, discusses the need for emerging talent to coincide with the ongoing growth of emerging technologies.

    While the political landscape may be paved with uncertainty, one thing remains certain – technology will continue to change the landscape of today’s working environment and the way in which we undertake day-to-day jobs. The need for emerging talent to coincide with the ongoing growth of emerging technologies is therefore imperative to keep our businesses productive.

    Many markets are set to undergo significant transformation in the next five years, driven by continued advancements in high-speed mobile internet and analytics, not to mention the ongoing breakthroughs we’re seeing in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotics. Attracting digitally native staff as part of this transformation needs to be a key focus for businesses if they are to success.

    Keeping our tech talent abreast of the latest innovations and bridging skills gaps is particularly important in Northern Ireland when we consider the potential growth of our Knowledge Economy which could create up to 16,500 professional, scientific and technology jobs in a high-growth scenario by 2026.

    Our latest report, ‘Co-Creating for Success’, exploring workplace advancement in an age of digital transformation, found that while 87% of business leaders say attracting digitally native staff will be vital to their success in the next three years,  70% of organisations don’t believe they have found the right skills yet. 

    The key to overcoming talent barriers is to see digital transformation as an opportunity, not a threat. Technology will alleviate workers from mundane, repetitive tasks and make room for the big issues and they can apply their creativity, knowledge and time to more valued tasks.

    Externally, businesses can help build the talent pipeline at every educational touchpoint - through placement opportunities, supporting career fairs and development programmes, as well showcasing the value of a career in IT through visible role models. Internally, businesses can upskill or retrain current employees or returning employees through continuing professional development (CPD) courses, external training or via internal experts and knowledge sharing platforms. Organisations need not just tech savvy people, but also strategists, business and industry experts and managers to foster an environment of knowledge sharing across our businesses.

    Training the young people of today for tomorrow is something we’re very passionate about at Fujitsu. Since 2010, we have successfully trained more than 60 apprentices, many of whom are still working in the company today. The apprenticeship courses have a particular focus on emerging tech and trends so that when technologies that were once considered futuristic become a reality, our workforce doesn’t feel marginalised by it. Currently, the two main growth areas covered in the courses are Cloud and Application Development.

    We work closely with our partner colleges, Belfast Metropolitan College (BMC) and the North West Regional College (NWRC), to shape the apprenticeship programmes we help deliver, ensuring our apprentices are studying not only the topics most pertinent to the future of the IT industry, but that they gain the transferrable skills to help futureproof their careers.

    In the last number of years, we have also increased our outreach activity with local schools, youth organisations, libraries, colleges and universities to showcase the benefits of a job in ICT. Activities such as coding workshops, showcases at career fairs, hosting Open Days and organising work placements, are all essential if we are to inspire the next generation of digital innovators and technologists. Thankfully the number of young people studying ICT at A-Level is on the rise with computing enjoying the biggest leap in entry numbers across all subjects recently.

    It could be easy for organisations to get side-tracked by how they can use and incorporate this technology, however for us, it is important that we plan for the entire journey ahead, this includes how we equip our people and our partners on this journey of change.

    This article originally featured in the summer 2019 edition of the Sync NI magazine. You can download it here and sign up to receive the next magazine here.

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

Share this story