A phrase we all hear and are well accustomed to, but this month in The Netherlands, our teams truly acted upon it. The growing skills gap in the IT industry, specifically with data centres, is a topic that has been widely commented on. Research from BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, highlighted a skills gap for people entering the IT workforce, with 74% of CIOs stating that they need more IT staff qualified for roles within their teams. This month working with JINC, – an association that gives young people aged 8 to 16 the opportunity to experience what the labour market has to offer as well as the skills needed for specific jobs – ; Colt staff welcomed students from Mundus College to introduce them to the world of data centres as part of TechniekWeek. These 14-15 year olds, although not familiar with the phrase data centre, are very much the online generation. Funnily enough, the first thing they all asked when arriving at Colt’s offices was the name and passcode to the wifi network so they could access their social media accounts – a prime example of how integral technology is in their daily lives. This type of activity is invaluable for local students as they embark on subjects that will guide them to their future career. But what is also important to remember here is that this is not a pure CSR activity, but also business critical for many organisations across the IT spectrum. Recent research commissioned by Colt suggests that 26% believe additional resource and skills are one of the biggest risks of infrastructure transition as they try to minimise their Tech Deficit to support business challenges over the next two years. The day split in two, with the first part focusing on classroom-based info and discussions, and the second a full tour of one of our data centres, kept the students engaged for 3 hours. The students showed a keen interest, asking questions surrounding back-ups and environmental impact, followed by intrigue as to what would happen if power failed as the connection between the world of data centres and their own truly collided. This summer also saw the launch of our ‘Street Fighters’ academy for students who are about to embark on their career paths, as well as for individuals looking for a change of industry. Run across 8 European countries, the programme was designed to equip sales trainees with the knowledge and tools they need in order to successfully sell Colt communication services to enterprises. 28 candidates were put through their paces in a customised sales coaching programme that combined mobile learning, online coaching and practical sales assignments, qualifying with a theoretical understanding and practical frontline skills. As a result, these new sales trainees were able to hit the ground running and reach their initial targets in the first month. As an innovator in our industry, we not only acknowledge our CSR commitments, but also the business criticality of the growing skills gap our industry faces. Taking the step from discussion to action, we are passionate about educating tomorrow’s IT professionals to ensure they have the necessary skills for the modern business environment.