The topic of workforce skills is much talked about, with a number of global organisations, including UNESCO, pointing to the fact that digital skills are becoming a critical requirement for employment.
However, the skills gap is continuing to widen. The workforce of today has been educated for the jobs of yesterday, not tomorrow.
This issue is particularly pressing in the technology sector, with many companies also struggling to balance diversity. The whole sector is drawing from the same limited talent pool, looking for graduates to fill in the growing number of vacancies.
Opening the door to the digital economy
At ServiceNow, we have come together with our customers and partners to address the talent challenge in a different way, one that is founded on our core purpose of making the world of work, work better for people.
The ServiceNow Next Gen Programme goes a step further by making the world work better for as many people as possible, opening up the doors for everyone to participate in the digital economy.
Uniquely, Next Gen is designed to help participants into employment.
But any initiative with this kind of ambition needs more than one company to make a big impact. The tech sector, as a whole, must work collectively to make technology careers more accessible to diverse groups of people.
That's why we've brought together a wide range of tech employers from our partners and customers to join ServiceNow in tackling the skills shortage head-on.
By tailoring programmes to meet their needs, participants in the Next Gen Programme follow a clearly-defined path designed to improve career opportunities in technology and enables them to actively take part in the digital economy.
Skills for life
Rather than implementing quick-fix solutions to upskill people and fill job vacancies, the Next Gen Programme is a long-term initiative that identifies previously uncovered talent and equips it with the skills for tomorrow. Our three main initiatives each focus on different groups or communities:
An academic programme: Working with universities and colleges helps to bring real-world scenarios to students so they can experience what it is like to work in the corporate world before they get there. By integrating our curriculum with university curricula, students can complete their degree with a ServiceNow certification. As our Now Platform® becomes more ubiquitous, the demand for ServiceNow skills is outweighing the supply, thereby improving students' prospects of being in a position to enter the world of work immediately.
Youth development and digital literacy programme: Our flagship programme gives a second chance in life to people who, for whatever reason, couldn't complete their education. According to Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer Division, 17 million people in the UK are currently lacking the essential digital skills needed to work and thrive in life. This programme makes a huge difference to them and their local communities.
In partnership with the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, we have launched a new digital literacy and job skilling programme in the region that we estimate will allow 5,000 young people aged 15-24 a chance to build a career in technology. The programme includes mentoring from ServiceNow's EMEA leadership team, along with a certification learning path to gain a number of ServiceNow accreditations.
Skills for life: An initiative aimed at reskilling diverse groups of people, such as veterans, mothers returning to work, persons with disabilities, etc. In addition to developing new skills, participants are also supported, encouraged and empowered to turn a new page in life.
At ServiceNow, we're proud of our culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging, where employees are valued for who they are and their voices are heard. The Next Gen Programme reflects this by providing much more than just technology skills. We're transforming peoples' lives by giving them a new opportunity.
While the fight for graduates in the technology sector continues, there are huge, diverse, untapped groups of talent out there.
We want them to engage with us and our leaders about how they can get onto the 'technology ladder'. We want to empower them to work with one of the fastest growing technology platforms in the world.
A blueprint for the future
Based on the experience and success of the Next Gen Programme so far, many organisations are coming to us, asking if we could replicate such initiatives in their parts of the UK and beyond.
I believe this is not just because we have linked training programmes to employment, but also because of the inclusive support and inspiration offered to people looking to thrive in the digital economy.
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