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People first, alwaysContents



Build Britain’s tech workforce

Expand apprenticeships and in-job training opportunities

Technology recruitment is a challenge across the British workforce. While advances in AI tooling are leading to lay-offs in some parts of industry, other UK innovators are creating their own training academies to cultivate their talent pipeline. Across the four nations, a broader pattern of technological, health and economic factors is repatterning the shape of people’s working lives, and more opportunities for lifelong learning and on-the-job training are already an essential part of economic development, workforce resilience and preparedness for the future.

Our respondents told us that there are critical skills gaps at different levels in digital government. In 2023, the NAO noted that 37% of government digital, data and technology recruitment campaigns were unsuccessful and that in 2021/2 there had been a 20% drop in the number of digital apprenticeships across government. For local and national governments, the regional concentration of tech skills around a few metropolitan areas makes recruitment into digital roles even harder; in central government, there are gaps in senior roles, including strategic policymaking.

During the 2010s, many vendors and consulting firms noted that governments’ power as GovTech purchasers would shape and define a new market. For the coming decade, digital government can provide an essential source of workplace training and development that will help the market flex and provide job opportunities in regional, national and local government for the digitally curious. This will build technology capabilities beyond current industry hotspots, increasing skills and diversifying local economies.

To meet needs in local government, we recommend building the technology apprenticeship programme outside of central government departments, and investing in continuous professional development across government to increase the number of senior staff with hybrid expertise in policymaking and digital delivery. This could be supported by further education programmes across the four nations, providing new entry points for those who would not otherwise seek out a career in either technology or public service.