Digital Skills and Inclusion - Giving Everyone Access to the Digital Skills They Need
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“Digital Skills and Inclusion - Giving Everyone Access to the Digital Skills They Need”
This Summary was developed from the UK Department for Culture Media and Sport Policy Paper on “Digital Skills and Inclusion – Giving Everyone Access to the Digital Skills They Need.” Available here.
Why Digital Skills and Inclusion are Important
It is predicted that within 20 years, 90% of all jobs will require some element of digital skills, and in order for both individuals and the economy to thrive, we need to address the skill deficiency of the UK population arising from several key factors, including; a lack of connectivity, absence of skills, and lack of motivation or lack of confidence to adapt to digital development.
Digital Skills for the Young
England was the first country in the world to mandate the teaching of coding to children in primary and secondary schools and, although, young people are regarded as “digital natives,” most senior business leaders do not believe young people are using their digital skills creatively or to full effect within the workplace.
Digital Skills for Digital Jobs
To maintain the nation’s standing as a leading global digital economy, our range of specialist digital skills must be expanded to fill the growing need that is expected to reach 1.2 million new technical and digital jobs by 2022. Current initiatives to address this include:
Employers are creating new standards for Digital Apprenticeships (including those focused on Cyber Security) in collaboration with the government. These will available up to degree level.
Government hopes to ensure 50% of students at ADA (National College for Digital Skills) to be women by 2020, and hopes to similarly expand the numbers participating among people with disabilities and other under-represented groups.
While women make up half of the workforce, this percentage is not present in the uptake of digital roles. A number of programmes have been set up to encourage more women to enter digital roles such as: CyberFirst Girls competition, Techfuture Girls programme, Code First:Girls, and Techmums.
New Digital Skills Partnership:
Government has proposed the establishment of a new Digital Skills Partnership, a platform where technology companies, local businesses, local government, charities and other organizations can come together with government, and coordinate and share their programmes, knowledge and best practices towards achieving the overall goal of digital inclusion for all.
A number of companies have already indicated their willingness and commitment to participate in this Partnership: Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays, Google, BT, Accenture, HP, Cisco, IBM, to mention a few. We are optimistic that more will come to the partnership table and be counted.
Through the Partnership, digitally-focused jobs may be identified at the local level allowing assessment of what skills are required. This will allow Local Authorities and business to coordinate and maximise their resources providing people across the country with access to relevant information, training and job opportunities.
Case Study: Three Reimagined Learning
As well as the work the government is facilitating, many companies are focused on addressing the issue of digital skills within their talent pipeline. Since 2015, Three has been working with MyKindaFuture on their unique Reimagined Learning training programme. Complementary to the newly launched GCSE computing curriculum, participants design and deliver workshops that bring the telecoms industry to life for 14-19 year old students. Programme participants are a mixture of Three employees and university students, who have all applied for the opportunity to develop their skills through this innovative experience.
Following the workshops, 96% of school students said they had a better understanding of telecoms and 52% would now consider a career in the industry, up from 15% beforehand.
Along with using this as an opportunity to inspire the younger generation to pursue careers in their industry, Three have integrated the programme into their talent strategy for recruiting apprentices and graduates.
Research (and real life experience) tells us that relevant digital skills are becoming ever more necessary in the workplace. To ensure new hires and the talent pipeline have the relevant skills businesses need in order to thrive, interventions must be made now.
What digital skills are currently required by your business? What training is available? Looking forward, what skills do you think you will need new hires to be proficient in?
To find out more about the work we are doing with businesses, such as Three, and how we can support your organisation to grow its digital skills, please get in touch.