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A leading business organisation has called for children to learn coding and software development in the classroom, in an attempt to bridge Britain’s technology skills gap.

With two thirds of businesses stating that computer literacy and IT knowledge are key skills when hiring, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) says it’s vital that youngsters are equipped with the relevant know-how early in life.

The BCC has compiled a four-point plan for tackling the skills shortage, which includes adding coding and software development to the curriculum.

BCC president Nora Senior said: “It's becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to recruit talented developers, which are the lifeblood of every digital start-up.

“At the current rate of growth, we may end up in a situation where we have more tech entrepreneurs than staff available with skills to help them grow.

"We need to promote a long-lasting relationship between the industry and schools, colleges and universities so that we're preparing young people with the skills of our future…to ensure we are at the forefront of the digital race.”

The BCC’s plan comes after Barclays Bank introduced an initiative designed to boost youngsters’ digital skills. ‘Code Playground’ invites children to “learn the emerging language of the new digital economy” by completing online tutorials and attending coding sessions run by Barclays digital eagles.

As we’ve said previously, Britain’s IT skills crisis is a cause for concern for employers and UK PLC as a whole. However, in the short term it undoubtedly represents an opportunity for contractors.

As our managing director Derek Kelly put it: “If recruitment agencies and their clients are unable to source permanent staff members with the necessary skills or experience, then contractors offer a short-term solution.”

Have your say

Are you a contract software developer? Do you think adding coding and software development to the curriculum is the answer to Britain’s IT skills crisis? Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch via Twitter.

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