The Tech London Advocates summit yesterday at Bloomberg #techlondon specifically focused around the subject of skills (lack of in most cases!) and how critical this issue is in supporting the increasing number of tech start-ups as well as larger more established business – and how do we secure and develop the pipeline of talent with the key required technical and professional skills that facilitate new graduates / employees being able to ‘hit the ground running’.

There were some wonderful contributions from an inspiring range of speakers incl. Ruben from Makers Academy (@rubenkostucki) who run fantastic fast-track courses in the most relevant tech dev languages to ensure that their student cohort are really learning what industry demands. His comments on the inability of the traditional University model to react and adapt to the rapid changes in tech and digital skills was widely accepted and from my own experience of the university machine – it simply takes way too long for new ideas / pivotal changes to modules and material / methods of teaching (including external engagement) to push through the red tape of formal validation – and in most cases – by the time it has – technology will have moved ahead again.

There is now a unique opportunity for Universities to evaluate their processes – they can no longer rely on the ‘research excellence’ ticket – they increasingly have to operate as a business – their customers?: potential students carefully considering where to incur the debt! – their shop window and USP?: their ability to teach the relevant skills, their REAL engagement with industry and the metrics they can present in graduate employability.

The 2 year degree?

Some are already way ahead of the curve in the UK eg Imperial / UCL / City – however there is a major shift required with others if we are to align the tech / digital degree pathway with business and it’s increasingly acute call for talent ready to hit the ground running.

As always the TLA event inspires and there were great contributions from among others: Jess Tyrrell @JessTyrr (Connecting Tech City), @KathrynParsons (Decoded), Christine Flounders from Bloomberg and the awesome @maggiephilbin.

Galvanised by the genius that is founder Russ Shaw @RussShaw1 – with superlative compere Ollie Barrett holding court – it was once again a very inspiring event and one from which I come away with a renewed determination and commitment to contribute through our own mission here at WOW-elite to ‘develop tomorrow’s brightest talent in today’s world of work’