The UK’s standing as a tech hub is suffering due to a lack of talent flowing into the country and lacklustre digital education programmes rolled out by the government, a top tech chief has warned.
Russ Shaw, chief of global tech group Tech Global Advocates, said ministers had fallen behind the pace on rolling out digital skills programmes while recruiting top talent from overseas had become too expensive.
The Labour party was now looking to capitalise on ministers’ shortcomings, he added.
“I don’t think we’ve done enough over the past few years to really equip the London and UK workforce, for the type of skills that they’re going to need in the future,” Shaw told City A.M. in an interview.
“I think Labour is really understanding that and will hopefully have a bold agenda if they win the next general election.
“That said, we still speak to government quite regularly. Their International Technology Strategy, which covers a variety of emerging tech tech areas, is very sound.”
Shaw added that he would “like to see more happen on immigration and visas” and was “concerned about the rising cost of visas”.
Tech firms have sounded the alarm over a lack of available talent in the country and troubles hiring staff post-Brexit. The government has rolled out a number of specific visa programmes to funnel tech workers into the sector but they have failed to facilitate the level of talent required.
Tech Nation, the non-governmental body that ran one of the key visa programmes, had its funding pulled earlier this year and closed down.
Ministers have committed to ramping up the availability and education of tech skills by funding initiatives like the new Centre for Finance Innovation and Technology, which looks to train young people up regionally.