Digital 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
As 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.