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SMEs: Overcoming the digital skills gap

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SMEs: Overcoming the digital skills gap

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Did you know research from Accenture suggests the Digital skills gap could cost the UK £141 billion in GDP growth?  We can help your SME better get to grips with digital skills through a range of products and services.


A recent LinkedIn report shows that four of 2018’s top five emerging jobs were in the digital development and machine learning space, making it clear that these highly digital skills are invaluable for businesses moving forward into 2019.

However, research from the Federation of Small Businesses shows that 26% of business owners in England lack confidence in their basic digital skills and 22% believe a lack of basic digital skills among their staff is holding them back from increasing their digital and online presence.

Difficulty in SMEs recruiting digital skills

To make matters more frustrating for SME owners, The Open University recently found that 94% of SMEs are struggling to recruit workers with the right skills.

Here at Birmingham City University, we’re committed to being a driving force in overcoming the digital skills gap by equipping our students and graduates with both the digital and soft-skills needed to thrive in the modern workplace. We also run programmes which can help SME owners access training and support opportunities to better get to grips with digital skills, such as Big Data Corridor.

Engaging with businesses is key to overcoming challenges

It’s essential that skills providers, such as Birmingham City University, be more attuned to employers and continue work in partnership with them. 

We work in partnership with businesses in a number of ways, such as through our SME growth programmes, which provide access to knowledge through consultancy and training workshops.

If you’re looking to make a hire, our employability team also work with businesses, providing a free service matching student and graduate talent closely with SMEs skills requirements, saving all important time and ensuring we find the right digital skills for their SME.

By working so closely with employers, this means we can also feedback SME and larger organisation skills-requirements, to ensure our graduates are equipped with the skills needed within real-life workplaces.

Digital skills at the forefront

As discussed above, LinkedIn’s recent report shows that the top five emerging jobs are in the digital development and machine learning space. As a practise based University, we’re passionate about developing a wide variety of research that delivers real-world business and societal impact, and collaborations with businesses and organisations are key to this.  

We’re ensuring digital technologies are at the forefront of our research, find out more about our research into key digital areas, such as Augmented Reality, Big Data, Digital Construction and Manufacturing. All of this knowledge is then cascaded down to students studying within these fields, developing the future talent of digital, with skills that businesses like yours need.

Our research collaborations with Birmingham City University and its knowledge base have helped Central England Co-Operative grow as a business.

John Armstrong, Head of Information Technology at Central England Co-Operative

We can help your SME get to grips with digital…


Birmingham City University can help you to access the support you need to bridge the digital skills gap in your company and we can’t wait to hear from you.

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