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UK digital economy requires an extra 750,000 skilled workers by 2017 as Campus Party Europe begins

UK firms will need almost a million skilled workers by 2017 to help power a digital economy that is forecast to continue growing at an impressive pace.

New economic research commissioned by O2 reveals that 750,000 skilled workers will be needed in under four years time if the UK is to satisfy the demand in the digital economy sector.

The study, which was carried out by Development Economics, found that over one fifth of the jobs that are required are “ideally suited” to the current generation of “digitally savvy youngsters”. It’s also calling for more cooperation between the public and private sectors that could eventually lead to as many as 100,000 extra jobs being created in addition to the 750,000 mentioned above.

It added that government and business backing for digital skills exchange programmes is vital to stimulate small businesses into offering support and work experience opportunities to young people. The report also encourages businesses and the industry to assist schools in delivering digital skills education programs.

“Now more than ever before, digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery, but this will only be realised if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce,” said Ruari Dunne, CEO of Telefonica UK. “The onus cannot be on the Government alone. Businesses must proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate to maximise the digital growth opportunity and harness the potential of the next generation.”

“As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them,” Dunne added.

Dunne was speaking at the Campus Party, a huge technology festival that is currently being hosted by the company at the O2 Arena in London. The festival, dubbed ‘Glastonbury for geeks’ by some, got underway yesterday and runs until 7 September.

It includes various keynote speeches and other activities designed to appeal to the attendees, who will be camping in a makeshift campsite in the neighbouring London Soccer Dome.

The program will consist of talks, debates, workshops, competitions and hackathons for the attendees to take part in and experts will give them tips on finding jobs.