Skills Show boss Ross Maloney stresses the importance of ICT skills for both employers and the workforce
Skills ShowA new era for ICT skills and apprenticeships was heralded at Birmingham at our annual event, The Skills Show. With it come the hopes and aspirations of thousands of employers and young people across the UK looking to create new careers, jobs and opportunities.

A skilled workforce is fundamental to every successful business in the UK, and developing the capability of our workforce is crucial for economic growth and international competitiveness. One of the fundamental areas that this applies to is ICT, which was an area of focus for the Skills Show.

We ae all aware that the majority of employers, technological or otherwise, in this modern age are looking for employees with basic ICT knowledge and capabilities. The Government has done a lot to address this issue. Reforms in the education curriculum have seen a move towards embedding ICT into all subject areas rather than having ICT taught as a standalone, and arguably disjointed, subject.

This will surely enable young people moving up through the school system to gain inherent ICT skills that make them desirable to employers as well as essential to the future economic growth of the country.

Challenge for individuals to harness ICT skills to make impact

This will present us with a future challenge of how these individuals can harness their ICT skills to enter their career of choice and make an impact. But for the immediate future there is a more pressing job to be done. How do we help the young people who have not had the benefit of several years of the new curriculum to, first, gain and understand the skills that are desirable to employers, and, second, become aware of their existing skills and the many avenues open to them to use those skills appropriately?

The Skills Show helped address these questions and we will build on the work that many employers have already undertake to attract the very best young people, working with schools, colleges and further and higher education institutions to raise interest about the types of skills and jobs needed in the future.

The Skills Show tells an ongoing story of how skills can benefit individuals, employers, apprentices, the Further Education sector, the economy and society. We aim to make it the centrepiece and culmination of a nationwide campaign to raise the public awareness and recognition of the importance of vocational skills and careers by hosting a range of skills competitions, awards and activities.

Building on the saying "Show, don’t tell"’, visitors were this year inspired by a wide variety of skills in action, as the best of the nation’s young talent performed at the WorldSkills UK Competitions, had an opportunity to ‘Have a Go’ at new skills, got up-to-the-minute careers and training advice, plus access to apprenticeships and real job opportunities from employers.

Visitors to the show with an interest in ICT were able to have a go at 3D design and try their hand at creating and animating 3D CAD models. Sound engineering, games design and app development were just a few more skills that visitors tried at the show.

With a target of 100,000 visitors, the Skills Show isn't short of ambition, and we will continue working with our premier sponsor, City & Guilds, to establish it as the number one skills show and the largest event of its kind in the UK.

Ross MaloneyRoss Maloney is chief executive of the Skills Show 

The Skills Show is an initiative that is jointly supported by the Skills Funding Agency and the National Apprenticeship Service.

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