More than four million free digital skills training opportunities will be created as part of a Digital Strategy to make Britain the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and ensure our digital economy works for everyone.
A pioneering new Digital Skills Partnership will see Government, business, charities and voluntary organisations coming together to make sure people have the right skills for the jobs in their area and are aware of all the digital training opportunities on offer.
In total, four million free digital skills training ‘opportunities’ will be offered. The government will continue to work with partners to ensure that small businesses and charities have the skills they need to make the most of the digital economy.
Charities feature heavily in the Digital Strategy and some of the key initiatives announced include:
- Lloyds Banking Group, as part of its Helping Britain Prosper Plan, has pledged to train face-to-face 2.5 million individuals, SMEs and charities on digital skills, including internet banking, by 2020. The bank’s 23,000 Digital Champions currently work with digital skills charities to deliver digital skills training across the community where it is most needed. Lloyds also produces two important, large-scale annual reports (the Business Digital Index and the Consumer Digital Index), which track the digital capabilities of small businesses and charities, as well as the digital and financial capabilities of adults across the UK.
- The newly created Council for Digital Inclusion, which brings senior leaders from the private and charity sectors together with government, will be used to increase collaboration and deliver initiatives to help more citizens to confidently go online and take advantage of the internet.
- The role of libraries in improving digital inclusion will be developed to make them the ‘go-to’ provider of digital access, training and support for local communities. To do this we will work alongside national partners such as Good Things Foundation, who recently passed the milestone of having supported two million learners and aim to support an additional one million people to know the basics of the internet by 2020.
- Barclays will assist up to 1 million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness in 2017, grow its UK Eagle Lab network by up to 100 per cent, and teach basic coding to 45,000 children.
- BT will expand its Barefoot Computing Project to enable a further 500,000 children to develop early computational thinking skills by the end of the 2017/18 academic year. The scheme helps primary school teachers with no previous computer science background feel confident to teach the new computing science curriculum.
- The HP Foundation will bring a free online learning platform – HP LIFE – to the UK. This will improve business, IT and digital skills for disadvantaged groups in the UK and aims to reach 6,000 new UK users over the next five years.
- Accenture will partner with FutureLearn to develop a new national digital skills programme to boost learning through online collaboration. Through partners, the programme could reach as many as 100,000 people across the UK.
Further pledges of support have been made by many of the top tech companies, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services. Further details can be found in the full strategy documents here.
Commenting on the strategy, Nick Williams, Managing Director, Consumer and Commercial Digital at Lloyds Banking Group, said: “By working with the Digital Skills Partnership, and our key partners such as Google and The Good Things Foundation, we can help to tackle some of the issues raised by the Government’s Digital Strategy.
“Our commitment to provide face-to-face support will make a huge difference to millions of individuals, small businesses and charities across the UK.”
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