Government announces plans for free basic digital skills training for adults

3 Oct 2016 03:49 PM

techUK Deputy CEO Antony Walker comments on the Government’s plans to make the UK one of the most digitally-skilled nations.

On 1 October 2016, the Department for Culture, Media & Sport announced plans to make training in basic digital skills free for adults lacking relevant qualifications.

The plans, which will be introduced in an amendment to the current Digital Economy Bill, are to fully fund IT courses for adults, putting digital skills on the same footing as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Commenting on the announcement, Deputy CEO Antony Walker said:

“This is a welcome announcement showing the Government’s commitment to ensuring people have the right skills to get by in a digital world. Digital skills are becoming as important as traditional skills like numeracy and literacy, which is why techUK has long called for the Government to make digital skills a priority.

This policy will help reduce digital exclusion, meaning many of the 10 million adults who lack basic digital skills will be able to make the most of the digital revolution. However, the UK also has a chronic digital skills gap in specialised fields that underpin our digital economy. If the UK is to remain one of the leading digital nations then it is vital that the Government invests in these areas so that the UK is the best place to start, scale and base a tech company. We look forward to providing the views of our members via the consultation and will be making this case to Government.”

A consultation on the full details of the plans will be undertaken shortly. The courses will be funded from the existing adult education budget.

techUK has a dedicated programme that addresses the skills shortage that many of our members face. techUK’s Skills, Talent and Migration Programme is a member forum to explore and promote initiatives and policy to address the lack of digital talent in the UK tech sector.