Tech leaders debate AI skills shortage in Parliament 

Leaders from the technology industry have issued a call to action for the government to invest heavily in equipping the next generation with digital AI skills.

Leaders from the technology industry have issued a call to action for the government to invest heavily in equipping the next generation with digital AI skills.

Speaking at last night’s Parliamentary Skills Summit, which was organised by the Parliament Street think tank, hosted by Dean Russell MP for Watford, and chaired by Steven George-Hilley of Centropy PR, proposals were put forward for academic institutions to work more closely with business leaders to upskill and reskill workers across the country.

Over 80 industry experts, academics and tech leaders attended the debate, where the UK’s plans for AI skills were finalised.

Speaking at the event, Stuart Munton, Chief for Group Delivery at AND Digital said: “Closing the digital skills gap is our top priority and we’re working with businesses, charities, and community groups to upskill the nation. With AI set to transform traditional job roles, it’s vital existing workers and the next generation are equipped with the skills they need to excel in a rapidly changing world.”

Meanwhile Simon Ward CEO and founder of Inspired Thinking Group (ITG) said: “Tackling the digital skills shortfall should be a top priority for UK PLC, and solving this problem requires a collective effort from businesses, academic institutions, and the government. With generative AI, automation and chatbots reshaping traditional working models, getting access to staff with the latest skills and spreading this knowledge across the workforce is vital for companies seeking to maintain the competitive edge.

“Economies that embrace and optimise the latest digital capabilities will thrive in the long term, those that fail to do so will inevitably fall behind,” added Ward.

Technology expert Lior Sion said: “Building a new generation of startup businesses has always been dependent on having workers with curiosity and knowledge of cutting-edge technologies. In the era I believe it means being fully equipped with the latest AI and digital skills. Having worked with many fast-growing companies, I know firsthand the importance of having a team with the latest technical capabilities is for enabling organisations to thrive.”

Leading clinician Dr Fadi Kherdaji of the Laser Eye Clinic London, said: “It’s vital that the next generation is empowered to pursue a career in key subjects like science and technology. If we want to build a truly digital economy, then we have to have the talent pipeline in place to enable it to thrive. We need world class clinicians, coders and technicians and they can only excel with the right training, support, and encouragement to do so.”

Campaigner Elizabeth Anderson, CEO, the Digital Poverty Alliance said: “Addressing Britain’s digital poverty crisis should be top priority for the businesses, schools, and the government. Despite many eye-catching initiatives in recent years, around 11 million people still lack essential digital skills, from using a computer to accessing basic online services.

“In an increasingly digital world, with AI reshaping the workplace, urgent action needs to be taken so that everyone is equipped with core digital skills to thrive, whatever their background.”