As outlined in the 5G Strategy, the UK currently has a supply of specialist skills and an existing workforce that is delivering communications projects, such as extending 4G coverage or building new fibre networks, which have the potential to be refocused towards the delivery of 5G. However, we are mindful that a lack of available workers to install the necessary infrastructure would delay deployment and full exploitation. As a result, the Government will investigate the skills requirements through the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme and continue to monitor labour market trends to assess availability and may take action when and where appropriate to support delivery.
To ensure the UK remains a country at the forefront of the digital frontier, we must ensure that we tackle the relevant skills shortages across the UK by developing a plan to refine our home-grown talent. As part of this, Worcestershire 5G testbed are leading a 5G skills workstream that will address the skills challenges affecting our 5G engineering workforce. Worcestershire 5G testbed are establishing a 5G Skills Working Group that will consist of various industry, academia and manufacturing partners taking part in the Government’s six 5G Phase 1 pilots along with key industry and skills bodies. Together they will research and disseminate learnings including what skills and qualifications are required for the future 5G workforce, identify areas of the UK which are lacking/leading in 5G skills and make several recommendations on how best to upskill our existing talent and train future engineering professionals.
The Worcestershire 5G testbed will publish a report in March 2019 that will highlight the results of their research and provide recommendations for training and upskilling our 5G engineering workforce.
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