UK businesses are calling on the new Government to make tackling the digital skills crisis a key priority following the Conservatives’ landslide victory in the General Election.
CBI director general Carolyn Fairbairn urged Boris Johnson to rebuild confidence in the economy and break the cycle of uncertainty, "after three years of gridlock".
She added: "Employers can bring the innovation, investment and jobs for a new era of inclusive growth. The biggest issues of our times, including reskilling the workforce for new technologies, can only be delivered through real partnership between government and business.
"Firms will continue to do all they can to prepare for Brexit, but will want to know they won’t face another no deal cliff-edge next year. Pro-enterprise policies on immigration, infrastructure, innovation and skills, will help relaunch the UK on the world stage."
Russ Shaw, founder of industry body Tech London Advocates, also welcomed the end to “three years of uncertainty” but pressed the Government to help address the skills crisis.
He added: “Our big focus is on talent. We are just not filling the jobs that we need and the government needs to look at immigration and lifting the cap on Tier 2 visas.”
Shaw said Johnson’s support for the technology industry during his time as London Mayor, where he launched the £5m London Enterprise Panel scheme to teach digital skills, was encouraging for the future.
In the Conservative manifesto, the party committed to supporting international collaboration, and ensuring UK teams can recruit the skills and talent they need from abroad.
According to the Government, tech companies already employ more than 2.1 million people and contribute £184 billion to the economy every year.
In June, the UK technology sector was handed an £18.5 million cash injection by the Government in an effort to drive up skills in artificial intelligence and data science and support more adults to upskill and retrain to boost their careers or to find new employment.
Up to 2,500 people will have the opportunity to retrain and become data science and AI experts while tech companies have been handed funding to develop cutting-edge solutions, using AI and automation, to improve the quality of online learning for adults.
Stan Boland, chief executive of tech firm FiveAI, said: "To build a successful global tech firm, you need smart, creative people and you need capital. The UK has flourished as Europe’s biggest tech hub because it has both, along with world-class universities, top talent, and one of the world’s most supportive tax and regulatory environments.
"It’s vital that the Conservative Government preserves what’s good about the UK tech sector, and helps to make it great. We encourage our political leaders to support an open and well-funded sector that can foster the iconic global tech companies of the future."