Sector Comment: BCS on the Changing Shape of UK IT Industry Awards

BCS - The Chartered Institute for ITPaul Fletcher, CEO of our member BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, takes us through the UK IT Industry Awards’ role in promoting professionalism – plus the importance of this year’s new category for apprentices. Does your organisation celebrate your profession’s talent through awards or other forms of recognition? Let us know in the comments!


The UK IT Industry Awards


Launching our 2015 UK IT Industry Awards has given me time to reflect on the role these Awards play in recognising excellence and innovation – the cornerstones of our profession.

Our Awards have been running, in one form or another, since 1973. The fact that they’ve continued for so long is a real testament to the ever-changing nature of IT and the value placed on receiving an Award from the only professional IT body.

The industry doesn’t stand still and neither do our Awards. Year on year we make changes to the categories to keep pace with the progress of the industry.

This year is no exception and as I look through the categories for 2015, I’m delighted to see that we’re including an award to recognise the growing importance of IT apprentices.


IT Needs Apprentices


Apprenticeships are very much a part of both the UK’s digital skills agenda and our own and I’m pleased that, having been named as one of three assessment organisations for the Digital Industry Trailblazer apprenticeships, we’ve introduced this new category. Apprenticeships are a great way to encourage young people into the profession and the industry needs them.

Research shows that the profession will face a serious skills shortage in the coming years. This is a real threat that we must address by encouraging young people to recognise IT as a great career option and provide them with different entry points. Apprenticeships are one entry option, offering young people an exciting, hands-on approach to learning with direct access to a career that they may not have considered otherwise.

I know the benefit of apprenticeships from personal experience as I started my own career in this way and have always been very grateful for the fantastic foundation it created for my ongoing development. For employers, apprenticeships are a great way to attract new talent.


Awards that Recognise Established Excellence


Attracting new talent is high on many organisations’ agendas. However, so too is keeping the talent they have and building recognition for the excellence of their individuals and their teams. Two other new Award categories, IT team of the year and best place to work in IT, aim to help organisations achieve this as well as raise awareness of organisations who are leading the way.

An Award is recognition for something you’re doing well, whether that’s at an individual or an organisational level. It can help you stand out from your competitors, retain and attract talent, and demonstrate your professionalism, innovation and excellence. Research shows that as humans, two of the most valuable psychological needs* we have are to be appreciated and to belong. Peer-to-peer recognition and thanks help us achieve these needs and while financial compensation supports a fundamental need, recognition and career advancement support our higher-level psychological needs.

*Maslow’s hierarchy of needs


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