A report has just been published by the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Skills: the Group’s purpose was “to provide a forum for parliamentarians, educators and employers to promote the importance of digital skills and to encourage a greater understanding of digital skills for personal, educational and career development”. One of the problems for me was they don’t seem to define what they mean by “digital skills”. Anyway, they identify issues to do with access and inclusion, and the need for training, including (as the emphasis is on economic impact) workplace training. They make a number of recommendations for government policy.

A quote is “Data poverty also continues to rise, as many vulnerable people are now facing a choice between food and data. A root cause of data poverty is unaffordable monthly broadband and data bills.”
The Group page is here: https://connectpa.co.uk/digital-skills-appg/
The report is here:  https://connectpa.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Digital-Skills-APPG-report-2020.pdf

Government must urgently act to develop a cross-departmental, digital economic recovery strategy or risk a prolonged recovery

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Digital Skills latest report calls on the Government to urgently work with educators, local authorities and industry to develop a cross-departmental, digital economic recovery strategy or risk a slower recovery.

The APPG on Digital Skills report has been established in response to the Group’s call for evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on digital skills and how to improve this in the future, the report sets out 15 recommendations to support and accelerate the growth of digital infrastructure, connectivity, devices and skills in the UK.

These include:

  1. The development of a cross-departmental digital economic recovery strategy, the Government must go beyond its recent commitment to publish a Digital Strategy and work with educators, local authorities and industry to establish this
  2. The introduction of a digital training resources network in collaboration with Government, industry and educators to provide a basic introduction to digital skills
  3.  Greater investment in future proofing the UK’s digital infrastructure and providing targeted support for those not currently online
  4. Financial backing for initiatives like DevicesDotNow that seek to widen access to devices and connectivity
  5. The continuation of fraud awareness campaigns which adapt and reflect the changes in fraud and scam techniques
  6. Creation of lifelong learning hubs in partnership with local and central government, LEPs, employers, educators, charities and community groups
  7. Establishment of a Sector Skills Grant Scheme from the Government, this would allow businesses to adapt their training schemes for workers and new starters to upskill themselves and protect businesses against the fallout from COVID-19
  8. Reform of the apprenticeship levy and ensure that digital skills are built into existing standards as they are reviewed
  9. Greater collaboration between academia, industry and Government through the creation of a COVID-19 digital response working group
  10. Ensuring the right infrastructure and policies are in place to successfully implement blended learning, including greater flexibility with university and college funding rates and rules and awareness of online learning platforms available

You can read the full report here.”