Posted June 27, 2017 | Industry Interviews, Tackling the Skills Gap Series, Technology Industry | No Comments »

[Guest Blog] Tackling the Skills Gap – City of Glasgow College

As innovation continues to accelerate throughout both SME’s and established businesses, there are well-founded concerns that the distinct lack of skills combined with an ineffective education system could endanger the UK’s growth. Tech City UK recently estimated that “Britain will need an extra 2.287 million digitally skilled workers by 2020 to satisfy the UK’s digital potential.” On top of these figures, Scotland IS have found that 73% of business will seek to hire digital talent locally this year, a 15% increase on last year’s numbers.

With the demand for industry skills only increasing, it’s important to find out what measures are being put in place by key players within the Scottish technology industry to tackle this. Over the following weeks, we will be talking to organisations at the centre of this issue; finding out what they think about the lack of skills within their industry, what they are doing to help, and how the industry can contribute to increasing the number of people in skilled work.

In part III of this series, we’re bringing you a great guest blog from Douglas Morrison, the STEM and Innovation Project Lead at City of Glasgow College (COCG). Douglas discusses the challenges faced by COGC surrounding the STEM skills gap, what they are doing to tackle this, the opportunities STEM presents to the industry and how COGC are supporting their students and working with industry to ensure their students graduate with the skills that are in demand.

BIO: Douglas is an experienced educator with a history of working in the further and higher education sector. His areas of interest include gender equality issues, STEM, innovation, digital disruption, educational policy and technology enhanced learning. He is currently the STEM and Innovation Project Lead at City of Glasgow College having previously acted as the College’s Industry Academy Head for STEM.Douglas holds a Masters Degree in Educational Technology and ePortfolio and is a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) candidate researching gender, habitus and games based learning at the University of Strathclyde. He is a Fellow of Institute for Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (FIKE) and co-founder of Adaptive Design Glasgow, a charitable organisation designing and manufacturing assistive aids for disabled children and victims of humanitarian disasters using cardboard.

 

COGC logo


City of Glasgow College is a pioneering Super College based in an award-winning twin site super-campus in the centre of Glasgow. With over 30,000 students and 1300 staff, the College is committed to “Letting Learning Flourish” through a culture of inspiration, excellence and innovation. The College’s Industry Academy Model ensures the curriculum portfolio is responsive to labour market growth in key economic sectors through the adoption of innovative products and services. By making a clear commitment to the development of students and staff through impactful collaboration with industrial partners, the STEM Industry Academy has supported thousands of graduates into employment or on to higher levels of study.

The College was awarded STEM Assured status in August 2015 in recognition of the economic value and social benefit its STEM activity brings to students and industrial partners. Its STEM Manifesto makes a number of commitments towards the development of inclusive and sustainable growth within the STEM vocational, technical and professional career pathways.

One of the most significant challenges facing colleges in Scotland is the need to remain responsive to a rate of industrial change, wrought by technological advancements, that has never before been experienced. In addition to ensuring the curriculum offer remains fit-for-purpose and aligned to modern industrial practices, we must also consider the skills and attributes our graduates need to succeed in the workplace.  The College’s Industry Academy Model ensures that regular communication is maintained with our employer stakeholders who are encouraged to both co-design and co-deliver our curriculum. With this approach, the City of Glasgow College is not only responsive to anticipated change but also acts as a strategic change agent within the Greater Glasgow region as well as further afield.

The technical skills gap within the STEM sector is widening as growth within Scotland’s key economic sectors demands work ready, technically capable and digitally literate graduates with high STEM capacities. I do not believe that there is a simple solution to addressing the skills gap but I do believe that the development of an accessible and inclusive multi-stakeholder career pathway is vital. The work done by organisations such as Primary Engineer and the Engineering Development Trust inspires young people to explore STEM careers. EQUATE Scotland champion equality of access and opportunity for aspiring women STEM professionals and skills and funding agencies are transforming policies and incentivising employers to widen their recruitment talent pool.  At City of Glasgow College, we recognise the value such partners bring to our students and stakeholders and have reaped the benefits that partnership working brings to our STEM offer.

I believe that the college sector as a whole is well placed to support employers to develop their workforce to meet future demands. The long-established modern apprenticeship (MA) framework and the philosophy of “earn and learn” supports employers and educators to collaboratively develop apprentices who are fully immersed in company values and systems of work whilst successfully achieving globally recognised qualifications.  The extension of the apprenticeship framework to Foundation Apprenticeships aimed at senior phase school pupils interested in following a vocational pathway as well as Graduate Level Apprenticeships will likely facilitate a more balanced and sustainable flow of talent into the STEM sector. The College’s apprenticeship provision cuts across a variety of STEM occupations and with such a diverse number of apprenticeship pathways available, there is a clear route to industry available for everyone.

As the College’s Industry Academy Model continues to evolve we stand on the cusp of what many analysts have referred to as the fourth industrial revolution. The increased adoption of computerisation, automation and robotics as well better collation and utilisation of data is transforming the way our industry operates and has profound implications for our developing workforce. Our graduates are expected to have multiple careers in multiple sectors, some of which have not yet been identified or are in the early stages of developments.

A recent report by the World Economic Forum found that employers are becoming less focused on occupational specific skillsets and are instead seeking wider transferable skills such as the ability to solve complex problems, interpret data, manage projects effectively and work as part of a diverse and flexible team.  This expectation has a profound impact on the way in which we deliver our educational programmes as an increased focus on active and blended learning methodologies are applied within the context of project and problem-based learning. Indeed, the College’s City Learning Model is structured to guide our students through a personalised and contextualised learning experience that is focused on personal development and STEM capacity building.

Our students have expectations of anytime, anywhere learning on flexible learning programmes that will deliver them into an employment opportunity. To achieve this, we need employers to continue to work with us to identify established, emerging and projected skills gaps, discuss recruitment processes, shape our curriculum offer and support us to design world class learning spaces that exceed industry standards. We need our awarding bodies and accrediting agencies to remain responsive to projected labour market changes and to offer a greater degree of flexibility in curriculum delivery to allow for multidisciplinary working on live projects.

The City of Glasgow College is committed to the creation of a collaborative ecosystem of STEM stakeholders determined to realise the potential of Scotland’s developing workforce. I believe that our Industry Academy Model is an effective vehicle for impactful change that will offer our developing workforce positive career development opportunities. As the College continues to redefine the technical and professional educational experience in Scotland it has never been a better time to pursue a career in STEM.

 

Missed the any in this series? You can find them all here.


Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  Linkedin LinkedInor Facebook Facebook logo to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted June 23, 2017 | Feature Friday, Software | No Comments »

Feature Friday: Insider Threat – What is it and how to Deal With it

We’re bringing you an insightful and thought-provoking article focussed around the subject of insider threat from the cybersecurity specialists at ZoneFox this week on Feature Friday. ZoneFox strives to assist businesses throughout the world to protect their business-critical data against insider threat and is a market leader in user and entity behaviour analytics. With this said, it’s time to hand over to Eilidh Curtis at ZoneFox and find out everything we need to know about the insider threat and how we can tackle this…

Zone Fox - Feature Friday: Insider Threat - What is it and


The Insider Threat: what is it and how to deal with it

As if it wasn’t enough to have to defend from industrial spies, nation states, and script kiddies residing outside your network, one of the biggest threats to our information assets resides within our own environments. The insider threat, intentional or otherwise, is now one of the major concerns in cybersecurity, and with good cause. Within many organizations these days, users have more access to data than they need, cloud storage services have created a phenomenon called Shadow IT, permitting users to save potentially confidential data to the cloud for future access, and with the (understandable) requirement of user-friendliness throughout IT assets, security controls are often disabled rather than tuned. While the insider threat can be a pain in the backside, there are ways to protect yourself and keep your users happy simultaneously.

What is the insider threat?

In order to properly defend yourself, you need to understand what you’re up against. The insider threat comes in many forms, but you can narrow them down into either malicious/intentional threats, or threats that stem from carelessness or lack of knowledge and skill within your workforce. You may have a user that thinks it’s okay to throw the classified document that they were editing up onto their favourite cloud storage platform so that they can access it later. One of your users may provide their credentials to a malicious third-party after being subject to a social engineering attack. You may have a malicious insider who is looking to steal or destroy data because they are disgruntled or under the employ of a competing organization. In the world of startups and small businesses, security controls can sometimes be sacrificed to allow for speed of delivery, lack of knowledge, or user satisfaction. Now that you better understand the threat, we can help you get a handle on the situation.

DEFENSE #1: CREATE ENFORCEABLE POLICIES

Good documentation makes a good cybersecurity practice, and policies are a staple in said documentation. Policies back up your decisions, provide guidance for your cybersecurity controls, and give you a base for user education. Acceptable use, privacy, and mobile computing are three base policies that should exist in most organizations. The policies exist to provide the following:

  • Acceptable use policy puts parameters around how your assets can be used. Are your users allowed to store company data in cloud storage? Are USB drives allowed for backup purposes? These answers and others should reside in this policy.
  • Privacy policy tells your users what they are able to do with company data. Does classified data exist on the network? If so, how will your users need to handle it to avoid disclosure? What safeguards are in place to protect your users’ data? How is employee data stored and encrypted?
  • Mobile computing policy lays out rules for mobile access to company resources. Do your employees take laptops home? How do they access company data remotely? Are there specific rules required for travel to high-risk countries? Mobile phones; are they provided by the organization or do you live in a BYOD world? All of these mobile devices access your organization’s resources, your mobile computing policy dictates how.

Once you have a base set of policies in place, your next step is to educate your users about their existence, and what it means to them.

 

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Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  Linkedin LinkedInor Facebook  to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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Posted June 20, 2017 | Industry Interviews, Tackling the Skills Gap Series | No Comments »

[Interview] Tackling the Skills Gap – City of Glasgow College

As innovation continues to accelerate throughout both SME’s and established businesses, there are well-founded concerns that the distinct lack of skills combined with an ineffective education system could endanger the UK’s growth. Tech City UK recently estimated that “Britain will need an extra 2.287 million digitally skilled workers by 2020 to satisfy the UK’s digital potential.” On top of these figures, Scotland IS have found that 73% of business will seek to hire digital talent locally this year, a 15% increase on last year’s numbers.

With the demand for industry skills only increasing, it’s important to find out what measures are being put in place by key players within the Scottish technology industry to tackle this. Over the following weeks, we will be talking to organisations at the centre of this issue; finding out what they think about the lack of skills within their industry, what they are doing to help, and how the industry can contribute to increasing the number of people in skilled work.

In part II of this series, we’re chatting to Steven Murray, Head of Academies for the Faculty of Business, to understand how City of Glasgow College is tackling the skills gap. We find out about the Faculty of Business Industry Academics, their Modern Apprenticeships and what Steven thinks the industry can do to support academia.

BIO: Steven Murray is Head of the Academies for the Faculty of Business which are working to support employer-based projects promoting learning by development and employability training through the embedding of work-related skills. Steven is a Scottish Government Consultant for the Scottish Equality and Diversity strategy (eHealth Directorate), a published academic and key note speaker on Legal Training and Education at the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, the International Institute Amsterdam and is a permanent member of the Legal Education and Development Scotland (‘LEADS’) group.

 

COGC logo - [Interview] Tackling the Skills Gap - City of Glasgow College


Hi Steven! Can you tell us a bit about Faculty of Business Industry Academies within City of Glasgow College, please?

“Working directly with local and both national and international Industry partners, City of Glasgow Industry Academies provide a broad, industry relevant focused curriculum to maximise student attainment and employability.  Created upon a cross-curricular structure, Industry Academies provide high-quality education and training delivering essential sector relevant skills and values and behaviours to ensure that graduates are work ready for their chosen area of employment or progression to Higher Education.  Benefiting from their integral links with Industry, Service and Commerce, Industry Academies are responsive to the needs of all sectors.”

What do you hope the impact to be on the industry?

“We are placing skilled, work-ready graduates and undergraduates into full time and paid internships across a wide range of sectors. Our City of Glasgow people are delivering an enthusiastic and flexible talent pipeline that will fuel existing and emerging sectors with a diverse and currency of aptitudes and cross transferable skills.  We are working towards providing the skills base for the future of Glasgow and the nation.”

Could you tell us about the Modern Apprenticeships CoGC run?

“City of Glasgow College offer a number of Modern Apprenticeships to learners aged 16+ which is an opportunity to gain qualifications in a number of business areas whilst actively engaged in paid employment. Modern Apprentices gain skills and qualifications without having to study full-time. Modern Apprenticeship frameworks are designed by employers for employers. A trainee will be given the opportunity to develop essential skills and knowledge in that area and this will ensure the essential combination of theory and practical application of skills is both right for them and for their parent organisation. Through their Training Plan, the trainee and the college are committed to the trainee’s progression and continuing professional development.  Many business sectors have identified a need for Modern Apprenticeships due to an ageing workforce and difficulty in recruiting and attracting new entrants. In addition, employers are often unaware of the career opportunities available within their own areas of industry and many, such as careers within the supply chain is often seen as the “invisible industry”. The skills gained through completion of a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship will help address these skills shortages.

In addition as an added incentive, the parent organisation and the trainee will each receive a bonus payment of £100 on completion of the framework. A link to our current Modern Apprenticeships is here.

We would encourage anyone who can to attend the next Scotland Policy Conferences Keynote Seminar: Next Steps for Apprenticeships and Skills Development in Scotland, which will take place on the morning of Wednesday, 6th December 2017 in Central Edinburgh.”

What do you think about the lack of skills within the STEM landscape?

“City of Glasgow College and its STEM Academy is addressing and meeting local and national priorities to promote and enrich the current national lack of engagement, enjoyment and promotion of STEM subjects and STEM Curriculums.  Our STEM Academy is actively engaging with external partners to further the collaboration between schools, colleges, universities and industry to address the current lack of awareness and understanding of STEM subjects within business, commerce and everyday life. Vocational pathways have been created culminating in new progression and career opportunities for learners and in doing so seek to increase the attainment, performance and success which is currently lacking in these areas and to deliver those skill sets into industry both locally and nationally.  The STEM Academy is filling the current skills gap to allow successful transitions into a vibrant sector through the use of Apprenticeships which will effectively benefit from the involvement of industry in education and training.  City of Glasgow College is increasing awareness within students and teaching staff to diminish the lack of awareness of possible progression and career opportunities within the STEM subjects and in doing so increase the confidence within those undertaking those subjects improving possible attainment.”

What would you say industry can do to help academia?

“Working directly with us here at City of Glasgow College industry sectors can have a meaningful and creative input into the design and delivery of our world class curriculum. Students and staff benefit from engaging with industry-led projects that see learners undertake challenges that reflect real time scenarios and factual circumstances whilst embedding the core skills and understanding necessary for those learners to progress into their chosen vocational areas.  Sectors can have a direct influence into the learning and teaching delivered to their future employees today.”

What future plans do you have for your department?

“The Faculty will be supporting the new College initiatives across a number of performance areas to further enhance the world-class learning and teaching delivered to our learners, to work together and further enhance industry and sector links and to deliver further enhanced professional learning and training cooperatively with international partners.  This will also provide enhanced opportunities for staff to engage with and benefit from our industry projects and international presence across numerous business areas.”

 

Missed the first in this series? Take a look at it here.


Enigma People is an award-winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. You can get in touch with us hello@enigmapeople.com or call us on 0141 332 4422.

Follow us on Twitter,twitter  Linkedin LinkedInor Facebook Facebook logo to keep up to date with our latest news and vacancies.

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