The digital skills gap is a global issue, but one which is at risk of escalating due to Brexit say’s Michael O’Flynn, the Sales & Marketing Manager for Professional Academy, one of the world’s leading providers of sales and marketing professional qualification training.
He tells Pound Sterling Live that Brexit shouldn’t hold back businesses and people developing their skills, or they will get left behind.
The digital skills gap is said to cost the UK economy over £63bn in lost additional GDP a year, and $1 trillion a year in lost productivity to the US economy.
For O’Flynn, one thing that’s incredibly clear is that globally we need to act, and fast.
He says, “in terms of Brexit, this has probably only exasperated the issue with the lack of digital skills available, because as a country the UK will probably not be as collaborative as it was before. But despite that there will likely be new opportunities with other larger countries, such as the USA, Far East and Asia.”
As a global provider, Professional Academy has come away from starting in its MD’s garage over a decade ago.
It now provides qualifications and trainings to businesses and sales and marketing individuals across the globe, so he has seen directly the impact that Brexit has already had on businesses panicking, however, that hasn’t dried up business, with them currently supporting over 1,000 individuals on courses.
O’Flynn says, “fortunately for us, the digital skills gap is a global issue, not just a UK or European one, which means that everyone, regardless of country, if they are looking to progress or seek a career in sales or marketing, or as an organisation to develop strategies in the future - they need to act”.
As a global provider of training solutions for sales, marketing and management professionals, Professional Academy are already successfully trading in many countries across the globe. In 2017 we have further group expansion plans in the UAE, Africa and Asia with relationships built to facilitate this expansion, through trading partners globally to deliver training supported by Professional Academy’s UK base of operations.
This means it’s likely the company will ride out the Brexit wave. O’Flynn agrees, “In terms of Europe, Brexit will not affect our expansion or operations: we already have a strong present in the Channel Islands with corporate clients and individual students studying from main land Europe.”
For Professional Academy that means expanding their digital presence online. O’Flynn highlights the issue.
“The future is digital, in order to succeed our thinking and skillset needs to be too, failing to do so will result in an even larger skills gap than what currently exists and will not only affect organisations who need to adapt their marketing to new innovative audience engagement strategies, but also decrease the opportunities for people looking to advance or enter a career in marketing.”
“Companies must break down the 9-5 at a desk mentality to appeal to digital talent who, as the name suggests, have increased levels of flexibility to work away from an office, in more creative environments or during less traditional working hours.”
The company have recently worked with the Digital Marketing Institute to create and launch their own solution to the skills issue - a new digital skill based qualification to plug the gap between traditional and digital marketing skills.
The Digital Marketing Diploma, announced just last month, has been created with both academic and commercial representatives in order to tackle the skills deficit globally. It is this sophisticated IT strategy that O’Flynn believes sets the company apart from other competitors.
“We are unmatched in our industry,” says O’Flynn. “Our focus on flexibility and knowledge of soft skills across marketing, management sales and customer service means we have developed something that not only helps the next generation acquire badly needed digital marketing skills. But we also make sure that it’s accredited and grants a qualification.”
The company is now looking at delivering the new Diploma across all parts of the world, and will be looking to Brexit and the new trade agreements to see where the skills shortage will become most apparent.
But no matter where the Brexit process takes the country, Professional Academy currently have no plans to leave it.
The revolution of digital skills means that the company can take themselves across time-zones without leaving the office.