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The Digital Skills Gap

An image of a microphone, with the words Kaplan’s Learn Better Podcast

With employer demand for digital skills outstripping the supply, we share how apprenticeships can give you the advantage in the jobs market.

In this week's episode, our host Stuart Pedley Smith, Head of learning here at Kaplan, looks at the Digital Skills Gap and the opportunity it has presented for those willing to upskill.

Kaplan’s Learn Better podcast covers topical subjects to support our past, present and future learners to succeed in both their studies and careers.

Our guest this week is Jason Moss, Apprenticeship Development Director at Kaplan. Helping us to understand the difference between knowledge and skills, Jason explains what employers are looking for and how studying an apprenticeship to learn these digital skills can help further your career and increase your employability.

As a technical person you need to be a bit more rounded than you used to be historically.

- Jason Moss, Kaplan Apprenticeship Development Director

Key topics

What is the difference between knowledge and a skill?

Knowledge is knowing how something is done, however a skill is the ability to do something, with little or no support and competently. With the digital skills gap the need focuses on people being able to put digital and technical skills (such as coding, software development, data analysis etc.) into practice.

How are skills taught?

With apprenticeships skills are taught in 3 levels: the delivery of the knowledge, the practicing of implementing these skills into a problem within a classroom or lab, and then finally taking these skills into the workplace to use in real life scenarios. These steps give learners a safe pace to learn and practice skills in an environment where they can make mistakes and it doesn’t matter. This then allows them to be confident when applying the learned skills within the workplace.

What do employers want?

Currently employer demand for digital skills is outstripping the supply available. But technical skills are not the only thing employers are looking for. Employers are also looking for people who are collaborative, logical thinkers, curious, creative and effective communicators.

It’s important to be able to work seamlessly with others within the business as well as being productive independently.

As a technical person you need to be a bit more rounded than you used to be historically.

- Jason Moss, Kaplan Apprenticeship Development Director

How are skills assessed?

To make sure your learned skills are well and truly embedded and you can utilise them competently, apprenticeships assess you through a range of different methods.

  • Classroom/lab assessment:
    Initially you are assessed in the classroom/lab environment to make sure you are getting the right outcome and that you use the correct methods to get there.

  • Assignments in the workplace:
    Once it is shown that you are able to demonstrate the correct skills and knowledge within the controlled assessments, you will then be set a task within your workplace. This will test how you implement your learned knowledge and skills into real world tasks.

  • Employer assessment:
    Before going through the end point assessment your employer will sign off to say that you have demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours learned on the apprenticeship to help you do your job competently.

  • End point assessment:
    An independent third party assessment organisation will review your portfolio of work and have an interview or professional discussion to assess that the relevant skills are shown. Often a task will also be set for you to complete under the observation of the independent assessor for them to then make a final decision on you successfully passing your apprenticeship.

Starting your career and upskilling

Whether you are starting your career or looking to upskill/reskill, there is a growing need for digitally skilled professionals, which is providing a lot of opportunity for those willing to learn and develop.

Jason comments: “If I was somebody thinking of either starting a career or upskilling or reskilling in some capacity, then looking at these [digital] skills would be really advantageous and give me a fantastic opportunity.”

Interested in finding out more?

Tune in now to listen to the full conversation on apprenticeships and the Digital Skills Gap, or check out our apprenticeships pages for more information.