We might well take technology for granted but the digital skills gap is potentially one of the biggest challenges the economy faces.  According to IT trade association CompTIA, the IT skills gap will grow massively in the next decade as hordes of existing IT staff retire and the next generation snubs technology. With Generation Y – the millennial generation – so adept at technology and pretty much surgically attached to their smartphones, why are they steering away from careers in technology and what can IT companies do about it?

Without IT savvy employees, businesses in the UK will struggle to remain successful.  Estelle Johannes, CompTIA’s UK director for member communities, said: “The impact of the skills gap threatens the livelihood of businesses across the country, from information security to customer service and more needs to be done to table this growing problem.”

What IT businesses and organisations need to do is to nurture the talent in the workplace and give youngsters a step-up – without the cost and time implications of higher education. Not everyone wants to go to college or university, and that doesn’t mean these people lack ambition or are not career-driven, quite the opposite in fact.

Apprenticeships will support young people on the first steps of their careers and help deliver the skills the UK, and the IT industry, needs. As a strong supporter of apprenticeship programmes, Inspired Technology has had tremendous success with apprentices – employing a number of local young people and accessing funding for their role including training at college. While we provide employment and development opportunities, we are not incurring the immediate pressure of inflated overheads so it’s hugely beneficial to both parties.

A deep and wide pool of IT talent will ultimately fuel growth so arming them with relevant IT skills and technology represents a vital step forward and will add value to businesses across all sectors.

From production studios to major retailers, investment banks to fashion designers, a whole raft of businesses will need young techies who are cloud computing-architects, big data experts, developers, computer games programmers and animation coders to name but a few.

If a young IT professional has the right attitude and drive to succeed, the industry can still offer an interesting and challenging career path, and one in which they could still be very successful, climb the career ladder and make a lot of money.