Google, Microsoft and BBC discuss the 'desert of digital skills'

Google, Microsoft and the BBC joined a panel last week to discuss how they are joining forces to urge boost in digital skills in schools in an initiative by BIMA called Digital Day.

Digital sector industry body, BIMA (British Interactive Media Association) called the summit of leading executives from tech giants Microsoft and Google to discuss the skills shortage that threatens the growth of UK digital economy as part of its Digital Day initiative.

Marketing caught up with the panellists to find out more about each organisation’s involvement.

Digital Day, which takes place on 17th November this year, will see digital professionals from a range of agencies visit schools and colleges across the UK. Through a combination of talks, work-shops and videos, they aim to educate students about what it’s like to work in the digital sector. Now in its fourth year, it has involved over 5000 students to date. 

Natalie Gross, CEO of Amaze, and a BIMA executive, says that there is evidence to suggest the initiative is working: ‘We have very high levels of correlation between lack of awareness before Digital Day, awareness after, and intent to actually explore digital as a careers opportunity.'

Jessica Cecil, controller of the BBC’s Make It Digital, sees the broadcaster’s reach as an ideal way to raise awareness of the importance of digital skills: ‘We have a specific public purpose to bring the benefits of emerging technologies to all of our audiences…so that we can inspire people to see their own creative potential in the digital world.’

For Google’s head of commercial marketing Nishma Robb, it is particularly important to focus on increasing the appeal of digital skills to girls. Robb hopes that by recognising that an understanding of technology can pave the way for an exciting career, girls will be inspired to carry Computer Sciences through to their later studies.