Everyone benefits from digital skills

Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web. During this time digital technology has transformed every aspect of public, private and working life.

Skills For A Digital WorldDigital education starts early in schools, with children expected to be fully digitally literate by the time they leave. After this time, and for people who are not considered digital natives or not interested in computers, the onus is very much on the individual to develop these skills.

In the Government Digital Inclusion Strategy, 21% of Britain’s UK population is quoted as lacking basic digital skills. This could be down to a lack of access, skills, motivation or trust, but to put this into perspective, it means around 11 million people are not benefitting from the digital world.

There are numerous initiatives by the government and other organisations, such as Barclays’ Digital Eagles and the Tech Partnership, that offer help to encourage more people online. At BCS, we provide IT user qualifications to schools, universities, training centres, local authorities and employers which aim to support digital skills development from the classroom to the workplace.

Digital skills could enable people to benefit from things such as:

  • Cost and time savings by shopping online
  • Flexibility of paying bills online
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends
  • Searching for special deals or employment
  • Finding or accessing local services
  • Staying up to date with news

For these 11 million people though, I wonder if the digital concern does outweigh these benefits. As someone who is online and makes the most of these benefits, I struggle to imagine why anyone would not want to have or improve their digital abilities. Maybe fear of the unknown? Let us know what you think and how these fears might be better addressed.

About the author

Kevin Curran

Kevin CurranAs a senior product manager at BCS, Kevin’s mission is to ensure everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills in today’s digital world. He manages the digital qualifications portfolio and is responsible for ensuring the qualifications are developed and managed in line with the growing and changing needs of the market.

Comments (2)

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  • 1
    Karen wrote on 27th Jan 2015

    Surely, if you don't have access to the technology you won't appreciate the benefits, or even have the slightest interest in finding out about what's out there.

    That said, in my circle of friends/family, everyone seems to have a smart phone, laptop or mobile device - regardless of how well they use them. I am also always surprised at how many people are in the local library at the weekend, making use of the wifi and computers there. So the issue can't just be about accessibility...!

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  • 2
    Martin Brown wrote on 6th Feb 2015

    I suspect the very name "digital skills" is itself putting off your target market of internet have nots. They don't know what they are missing and basically they don't care. The main advantages are online shopping and banking provided that you have adequate security and a global reference library in the form of Google search and Wiki. 24 hour rolling news TV channels make the internet news reporting less relevant.

    As smart TVs with video on demand become more commonplace and the latest generation of mobile phones become viewing platforms the number of people excluded from the net will decrease but there will always be some who can't or won't adopt new ways. They also insist on paying for everything by cheque or cash...

    I do feel sorry for ordinary consumers since they are pretty much at the mercy of various online scams, sophisticated spear phishing tricks and manufacturers that fail to sign their own driver updates correctly - thus conditioning end users to click on the highly dangerous button to "run this unsigned binary of unknown provenance". Preinstalled AV products (and other bloatware) on new PCs today are nagware that is almost as bad as the trojans and viruses they are supposed to protect us from.

    I can understand why some (mostly elderly) people are very cautious about using the internet.
    A scary number of people who should know better have ultraweak passwords/PINs like "qwerty", pa55w0rd" or "1234" or secure passwords but written out on a postit stuck to the side of their screen!

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About this blog

Supporting the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ strategy we’re keen everyone has the skills and confidence to use IT. Here, we share thoughts on a variety of digital matters.

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