Data Skills Gap

Bethan Barnfield | Marketing Manager at BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

While technology and jobs have evolved rapidly in recent years, digital skills in the UK are struggling to keep pace.

In 2020, the Digital Sector contributed £142.3 billion to the UK economy, that’s 7.5% of total UK GVA, compared to 7.0% in 2019 (measured in current prices). From 2010 to 2019 (the last full year prior to the pandemic) the Digital Sector grew by 66.6%, compared to 19.6% for the UK.*1

With demand for digital expertise higher than ever and with it, bringing huge opportunities, digital progress risks coming to a halt without an influx of people who can work with emerging technologies. In fact, in a recent TechUK survey, 57% of UK IT firms say a shortage of talent is one of their greatest challenges.*2

Apprenticeships as a Solution

To stick to its steep growth trajectory, the tech industry needs professionals equipped to tackle unprecedented challenges and opportunities. With fields like artificial intelligence and cyber security advancing quickly, new entrants to the IT profession must be pioneers as much as experts.

Digital apprenticeships are one way of providing such talent. They bring aspiring professionals into the industry with highly relevant skills from within the workplace. And to ensure they meet employers’ fast-changing needs, the range of apprenticeship standards on offer is constantly expanding.

This form of training is a win-win situation for those involved; while employers receive government funding to build their digital capabilities, apprentices get paid to gain valuable skills alongside practical experience. For many school-leavers, this is an obvious choice when compared with longer, more expensive routes such as university. For some, it’s the only viable option.

Digital apprenticeships are now a popular pathway into the profession with organisations using them to not only help young people embark on exciting careers, but also to upskill the current workforce.

But to serve the growing demand, apprenticeship assessment organisations need enough assessors to enable learners to complete their programmes. And that’s where the existing professional community comes in.

Becoming an Apprenticeship Assessor

As a leading end-point assessment organisation for digital apprenticeships, BCS is expanding its network of assessors to support this recent surge in popularity. This means that if you work in the digital space and have at least 5 years relevant experience, you can help us plug the skills gap by supporting the next generation of professionals to enter the industry.

So, what is end-point assessment, and what do assessors do? As you might have guessed, end-point assessment takes place towards the end of an apprenticeship, and it allows an apprentice to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and behaviours they’ve developed during their programme. As an assessor, you’ll review apprentices’ work, offer constructive feedback to support their development, evaluate projects completed under test conditions, and conduct online interviews with each learner.

By joining BCS, you’ll help ensure apprentices are well-prepared with the necessary skills to thrive in their careers.

Assessor Specialisms

As an assessor, you’ll focus on an area of specialism that reflects your own professional experience. Digital skills are in demand within a wide range of industries and functions, and our specialisms include:

  • Software Tester
  • Software Development Technician
  • Software Developer
  • DevOps Engineer
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) Data Specialist
  • Data Technician
  • Digital Support Technician
  • Information Communications Technician
  • IT Solutions Technician
  • Network Engineer
  • Application Support Lead
  • Data Analyst
  • Business Analyst
  • Digital Marketer

The perks of being an Associate Assessor

Intrigued? Let’s take a look at why becoming an associate assessor is a worthwhile career move.


As an associate assessor, you work in a freelance capacity with the freedom to complete assessments when and where you like. This can be full time or part time and you can fit assessing around your other commitments. While interviews with apprentices take place during regular working hours, other assessment tasks can be done at a time that suits you, such as reviewing project work.

Lucrative work

We value the unique skillset and experience you’ve worked so hard to develop, and you’ll be well-compensated for sharing it with us. This makes assessing a fantastic opportunity if you’re looking to boost your income.

Empowering apprentices

Working with apprentices is an immensely rewarding experience. As an assessor, you’ll support budding professionals to gain a head start in tech, and your constructive feedback during the end point assessment process can help to boost their confidence and help them identify areas to focus on.

Bridging the skills gap

By assessing apprentices who are planning for their own career within your area of speciality, you’ll play a crucial role in upholding professional standards for years to come. Your expertise will ensure newcomers are ready to make a positive impact as part of a talented workforce.

Continuous learning

Technology is constantly evolving, and as an assessor, you’ll gain insight to the latest digital developments. Assessing digital apprenticeships allows you to witness cutting-edge practices in action across different settings, discover emerging trends, and explore new tools that could benefit your own organisation. You’ll also keep your existing knowledge fresh by using it to assess each learner.

Enhancing your CV

Joining forces with BCS could elevate your profile in a competitive job market. As The Chartered Institute for IT, BCS is well-respected within the profession, and assessment experience with us could give you an extra edge in your future career. Working as an assessor also shows you’re passionate about your specialism and committed to the success of your profession – a major appeal for most employers.

What our assessors say

Here’s what some of our current assessors say about their experience.

“I love getting to dust off skills I don’t use in my everyday job and I like supporting the apprentices. I feel passionate about the fact we are part of giving young people a chance to start a proper professional career without having to load up with the debt so many youngsters have after a degree.”

“Working with and supporting apprentices was something I was very interested in as I felt like it would be meaningful work. The fact that I was able to do it using skills I’ve developed over my years of working was a bonus. The job itself is also fantastic in terms of a work/life balance.”

“I wanted to be able to work flexibly, to work my own hours, and not commit to a 9 to 5 occupation.”

How to get involved

Ready to find out more? You might be relieved to hear you don’t need any experience of assessing apprenticeships to begin working with us. We’re interested in partnering with professionals from a diverse range of industries and backgrounds who have at least 5 years relevant experience.  You’re able to assess a number of different specialist areas if you have experience in those fields.

We provide all of the assessment training and support required so please get in touch with us below to get started. Here are the steps you’ll follow to join us as an associate assessor:

  1. Send us a CV detailing your experience and qualifications, as well as a covering letter explaining how this is relevant to the apprenticeship specialism(s) you’d like to assess.
  2. If your experience matches what we’re looking for, we’ll invite you to a two-day selection workshop where you’ll find out more about the role and requirements.
  3. If you’re successful, we’ll carry out a DBS check and on-board you as an assessor.

If you’d like to discuss this opportunity or you’re ready to take the first step, please contact us at

*1           UK Government National Statistics

*2           TechUK Digital Economy

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