The digital skills gap is one of the biggest threats to organisations, not just in the UK but in the world. The scale of the problem between the skills we have in an organisation and digital best practices has never been wider. Although many leaders accept that there is a digital skills crisis, 60% of them have not implemented a strategy to help bridge the gap.
We sat down with Tony Lysak, Founder and MD of QA Consulting, to talk about the skills gap and how the history of our training Academy has helped with not just our internal skills, but also some of the leading organisations across the world.
Over the past couple of years the digital skills gap has really become a major buzzword. What is your take on it?
The digital skills gap has always existed, it just changes over time - you see this in continuous innovation and evolution in all walks of life and especially software. All that has happened over time is that the gap has become more acute in niche technologies and now there are probably hundreds of niche technologies with massive digital skills shortages. All we think about is the consumer piece that we see; the bit that we inter-operate with, like web browsers, desktop and mobile applications. But, when you look at the infrastructure around them 90% of the innovation that is happening is made up of bits that you can’t see. That is where the real digital skills gap is.
Has the digital skills gap affected QA Consulting?
As any IT consultancy, we definitely experience the digital skills gap. That’s exactly the reason behind why we created the Academy within QA Consulting six years ago - we were suffering the same skills gap as our customers.
How did QA Consulting tackle their internal skills gap?
We used to be heavily reliant on the freelance contractor market to resource IT projects, however, this wasn't a scalable option. Not only was it not scalable but it was also expensive and meant we didn’t keep the IP - the skills and expertise gained by delivering projects once a contractor leaves at the end of the project. That is where the thinking behind opening the Academy came from.
If we could hire more people and train them in the acute technologies where the skills gap are prominent we would be able to scale and grow our business. So we originally opened the training centre to help develop our own talent. Then, over time, we discovered that our product - the recruitment and training of IT consultants in leading software - was also attractive to corporates to help resource their own gaps. And so we began to offer this service to our clients as a way to help them with tackling the digital skills gaps that exist in their organisations.
How is QA Consulting solving their customers’ internal skills gaps?
We provide our customers with cost effective, minimal risk alternative to the search, selection and training of IT consultants to deliver complex transformational projects and programmes. This can through the delivery of specialist permanent staff or through the deployment of our consultants who work alongside existing teams for the duration of a project.
We’re not just working with some of the largest organisations in the UK and world, there are also Tier 1 and multi-billion systems integrators who come to us to help with their digital skills gap.
Since moving our Academy to Manchester in March 2015, we have seen huge growth. In the last 12 months alone we have grown from 100 to 400 consultants, and at current run rates we are hiring between 20 and 40 consultants a month. That’s one of the reasons why we recently opened a new delivery centre in Telford, staffed by more than 50 consultants.
Do you see the digital skills gap narrowing in the future?
No, it has always been there and will continue to be, it will just move onto the new innovations. We’re not just hiring for now, we are hiring for skills shortages that we aren’t even aware of yet, such as the increase in the rate of pace of innovation. The digital landscape is always changing so there will always be a need for new digital skills.
Interested in discovering more about the Digital skills gap? Take a look at our digital skills gap 101 blog. To find out more on how QA Consulting can help you tackle your digital skills gap contact us.