Children as young as five will begin learning computer coding next year as part of a shake-up of the U.K.'s national curriculum, but the move is as much about giving British education an edge as it is about plugging a talent gap in the computing and technology sectors.
Computing skills are becoming vital in an increasingly digital world as Europe looks to compete against Silicon Valley in the technology sector. But the U.K. is suffering a big shortage of workers equipped with the skills to give home-grown technology businesses a leading edge.
Almost half of London's 1,350 high-tech businesses say a shortage of skilled workers is the biggest challenge they face, according to a study by market research firm GFK. The survey also found that 77 percent said they could grow their business if there was more talent available.
The short supply of skilled workers is a "major issue" for U.K. technology companies which are feeling the pinch from wage inflation, Anne Giulianotti, joint team head of GfK NOP business and technology, told CNBC.
"In the short term it is driving up wages, making it hard for small companies to employ people."