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Why are Digital Skills Bootcamps Needed?

Northumbria University has launched its new Digital Skills Bootcamps to plug the digital skills gap and support the expansion of the digital construction sector, but why are these bootcamps are needed.

The Data Science and Software Development courses are supported by Constructing Excellence in the North East (CENE) chair Tim Bailey. Tim is an architect and founder of xsite architecture in Newcastle.Image of Tim Bailey, architect and founder of xsite architecture.

In your opinion Tim, where are the biggest skills shortages in the industry and why?

There are skills shortages in virtually every area of the industry, from traditional roles to emerging roles and skills. If I was to pick key areas they would be in digital transformation of processes and practices across all strata, decarbonisation related roles and product innovation. Collective behaviours to improve knowledge and capabilities across the sector would bring with it higher levels of value to competition, rather than the more usual race to the bottom.

Why is it essential that staff working within the sector are digitally efficient?

Everything is digital in some aspect and lack of skill in this area excludes growth as an individual or a business. Digital construction will continue to increase in influence and remit, and every role needs more and better digital skills in their area. This would lead to positive innovation, improved productivity and safety, and likely improved profitability making the sector more widely attractive at entry point.

Is there a demand for staff with these digital skills and why?

Digital workflows promise – and are already delivering – improvements in all areas of the industry. And because that is recognised, demand is high. The fragmented nature of the industry has so far prevented a cohesive, united, and visible effort to address these issues.

How do you think the Skills Bootcamps will benefit those working within the sector?

Skills Bootcamps have the potential to jump-start this essential change in focus for the industry. They will create change of direction and emphasis for some, and certainly challenge traditional thinking about processes and career progression. It could herald a quiet revolution within this key and important sector for tackling the big issues facing society today.

Will these courses make people more employable and help them to progress their career?

They will. I also expect them to spawn some start-up activity and diversification in certain parts of the construction industry. This should lead to high-quality jobs, pay and satisfying career progression.


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