Government Ramps up 'Digital Skills Crisis' warnings

The Government has urged for the UK to address its ‘digital skills crisis.’

In an official report, published on 13 June, the House of Commons called for the UK to come together across schools, universities and businesses to combat the growing gap in digital skills.

The ‘Digital Skills Crisis’ report, published by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, advised for the acting Government to revise its approach to equipping the country with enough skilled digital to fill roles in the hugely underserviced digital industry.

According to the report, up to 12.6 million adults in the UK lack “basic digital skills”, with roughly 5.8 million of the country’s citizens having never accessed the internet. It is estimated that the skills gap is costing the UK £63 million in potential revenue per year.

In the short term, the UK needs 745,000 more workers with digital skills by 2017.

With 90% of jobs now requiring computer literacy, the Government sees education as imperative in readying the younger generation for their futures. The report found that currently, computer science teachers only reach 70% of the required number and 35% of these do not have relevant qualifications.

The report also called for the Government to publish its Digital Strategy as soon as possible and emphasised the importance of this document to the UK’s future. It reported: “The Government’s imminent Digital Strategy needs to go further than drawing together cross-government digital activity, it needs to offer genuine leadership and vision for the future of digital skills and our digital economy.”

“We need to change the UK’s cultural perception of digital technology. By setting out a vision for the future, to be delivered by collaborative work between industry, educators and Government, the Strategy should be more than the “aspirational” document that ministers propose – it should be a Strategy that actually delivers.”

It has been highlighted that the UK remains a market leader in the digital sector, with an infrastructure more advanced than that of many countries in Europe. Nicole Blackwood, chairwoman of the Science and Technology committee, said: “The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind. We need to make sure tomorrow’s workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers need.”

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