Call for class action to close digital skills gap

Efforts to tackle Scotland’s digital skills gap should begin at primary school, according to a key figure within the IT sector.

Maggie Morrison says digital skills should start at primary school
Maggie Morrison says digital skills should start at primary school

Maggie Morrison, business development director for Scotland at technology group CGI, said the IT and telecoms sector contributes more than £4 billion to the Scottish economy, but the number of young people entering the industry is dropping.

“In Scotland the industry employs 80,000, with nearly 40 per cent working in software roles and an estimated 74 per cent of Scotland’s total workforce requiring some degree of digital skills in the workplace every day regardless of industry sector,” said Morrison, who has also worked for tech giants Cisco and Hewlett-Packard.

“Across Europe 100,000 jobs are being created every year. These are highly skilled, highly paid jobs and yet in Scotland thousands of vacancies remain unfilled annually because of a skills gap.”

In a speech to the Civil Service Live conference in Edinburgh today, Morrison said one way of addressing the problem would be to change how digital skills such as coding are taught in schools, “starting with primary children”.

She added: “Everyone interested in Scotland remaining competitive in our global economy and in addressing the digital divide has a role to play – government, educators, parents, career advisers and the digital industry itself.”

CGI, headquartered in Montreal, earlier this year won a £186 million outsourced IT procurement deal with Edinburgh City Council.