Continuing education: The butterfly effect | Jersey evening mail
Digital Academy student Laura Van Rheineck-Leyssius (28) (31242359)Rory Steel, Director of the Digital Jersey Academy PICTURED: ROB CURRIE. (31242393)
Whenever the qualification debate is mentioned, many facts are thrown into the discussion, such as where roles have been automated.
Employers in all industries are urgently looking for workers with the right digital skills. What we didn’t know, however, was how popular the training courses would be. In just a few weeks, over five hundred people had registered for retraining for our free digital short courses, with some courses being twice overbooked.
Although we did not expect the admission to happen so quickly (over 40 courses with 600 places, now almost fully booked), we knew that the courses were urgently needed. As part of our Digital Skills Strategy, we use the Labor Insights Report of Geek Talents to identify the key skills and areas of the economy that need training and retraining the most. Thanks to government funding, we are now creating a talent pipeline that will provide much-needed skills for our workforce and our economy.
Why is this important for Jersey?
Our free part-time courses are for anyone on the island who wants to continue their education and retraining. It is important that these courses are open to everyone. Without barriers to entry, we also ensure that the times we hold our courses are suitable for everyone related to existing jobs or childcare. There should be no barriers for anyone when it comes to continuing education.
We know it is needed. The pandemic aside, there are a number of job roles that are being automated and this is particularly affecting the financial sector, which has a lot of high-level jobs. Accountants, fund accountants and administrators as well as relationship managers are among the top categories for jobs affected by digitization. Still, with some retraining, many of the skills can be transferred to new roles. This is vital for the individual and is vital to our economy.
I’ll get straight to the point, why did the Government give Digital Jersey £ 375,000 to create these courses as part of Fiscal Stimulus? One example is our programming course, which has been running for over seven years, and past graduates include people who have previously worked in finance, hospitality, retail, or job hunting. It may be our longest-running course, but it has not lost its appeal and graduates are in high demand and employers are waiting for new employees. We are currently overbooked twice for this course, which can accommodate a maximum of 16 students and teach for six months. When you consider that the average salary for a software developer is between £ 45,000 and £ 47,000, that’s potentially between £ 5,000 and £ 8,000 in taxes from any person, depending on their circumstances. Let’s bring that down to an average of £ 6,000 per person. This means that the government and thus the people of Jersey will earn this money back within four years from just one course. Remember, by the end of this year we have already booked thirty courses and over 500 people on them, and you can see how valuable they are.
Well, the math is by no means foolproof, it assumes people are inactive and other variables, but it does represent the tremendous financial value to our economy that educating and retraining the islanders brings with it. I haven’t even dealt with housing and population control yet. We need to invest in the local people to avoid the need to employ off-island employees.
How does it help employers?
The other side of the coin is the employer. We have lost many dynamic growth companies from the island in the past because they could not find enough staff to fill vacancies. By restricting the growth of organizations or losing them altogether, this affects us all economically and ultimately we lose as an island. Digital skills aren’t just intended for a niche technology industry. Every company today uses digital to different degrees, be it digital marketing, e-commerce and websites, data analysis or artificial intelligence.
What does the individual get out of it?
It is crucial that these courses change people’s lives. We have a diverse range of applicants, and it is important that everyone has access to them (unless they are full) as there is no barrier to entry. You are free; they do not require minimum qualifications; We hold them at times that are appropriate for those who may be working or involved in childcare.
Laura Van Rheineck-Leyssius has just completed the six-week introductory course in digital marketing. She is 28, has two young children and has been unemployed for five years. She used to work in fund management.
“Now my son is going to school and my daughter is going to kindergarten. I have a little more time to myself and I knew I wanted to keep going back to work, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. It’s pretty daunting to be out of the job for five years. As a full-time mother, you can lose yourself a bit.
“I wasn’t sure about digital marketing. My age group grew up in the social media age so we didn’t have to learn, we just grew up with it, but I understood that a company has to be online. The six week introductory course was great and Daniel Rowles the instructor was really good and supportive and also took the time after class to talk me through things and give me the boost I needed.
“I have now applied for the two-year extra-occupational digital leadership program and have been accepted. It helped me think that now is my time and I can do it. I am hoping to get a job in digital marketing and I want to encourage everyone to develop their skills. Once you take that first step, everything else follows. ‘
What’s next? We have to keep doing this. Not only do we need to qualify the next 600 employees and 600 more, but we also need to keep those skills up to date. We have created a talent pipeline with government support that can keep Jersey competitive and we are not working on that alone, Highlands is a big part as well, as they have their own courses right now. What we need is to keep doing it. Businesses must also side with the government in funding this training and in applying its results.
It’s really a butterfly effect. If you educate a person, it can have a significant impact not only on that person, but also on a company and ultimately our economy.
nYou can see the courses of the Digital Academy: https://www.digital.je/digital-jersey-academy. For Skills Insights: https://www.digital.je/skills-insights.