The Culture Secretary Karen Bradley aims to create a world-leading digital economy involving businesses, charities, the voluntary sector and the Government. The strategy will work towards enabling people to thrive in an increasingly digital society.
More than four million free digital skills training opportunities will be created as part of a Digital Strategy. Adults and children are set to benefit as organisations provide digital skills include coding to 45,000 children.
There should be no digital divide – every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology
A new Digital Skills Partnership will see Government, business, charities and voluntary organisations coming together to make sure people have the right skills for the jobs in their area and are aware of all the digital training opportunities on offer.
Post Brexit, the Government hopes the new strategy will deliver a thriving, outward-looking digital economy. The creation of five international tech hubs in emerging markets to create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms are intended to provide British businesses with a global competitive edge and drive collaboration on skills, innovation, technology, and research and development.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: “There should be no digital divide – every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn.
“Government has taken the lead in this area and has committed to help adults who lack core digital skills to access training free of charge, similar to the approach taken for literacy and numeracy.”
The strategy intends to establish a Digital Skills Partnership with new pledges from private sector organisations:
· Google will launch a Summer of Skills programme in coastal towns across the UK schemes to help boost tourism and growth in seaside towns.
· Lloyds Banking Group is to give face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, small and medium businesses and charities by 2020.
· Barclays will assist up to 1 million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness in 2017, grow its UK Eagle Lab network by up to 100 per cent, and teach basic coding to 45,000 children.
· BT will expand its Barefoot Computing Project to enable a further 500,000 children to develop early computational thinking skills by the end of the 2017/18 academic year. The scheme helps primary school teachers with no previous computer science background feel confident to teach the new computing science curriculum.
· The HP Foundation will bring a free online learning platform – HP LIFE – to the UK. This will improve business, IT and digital skills for disadvantaged groups in the UK and aims to reach 6,000 new UK users over the next five years.
· Accenture will partner with FutureLearn to develop a new national digital skills programme to boost learning through online collaboration. Through partners, the programme could reach as many as 100,000 people across the UK.
Ronan Harris, Google Managing Director UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Digital Skills Partnership and will continue to invest in the free skills training offered through the Digital Garage, launch a new programme aiming to help seaside communities, and – as a global first – are launching engineering apprenticeships, giving young people without a degree the opportunity to join Google’s world class software teams.”
The strategy also contains new measures to support Britain’s world leading AI sector which were announced earlier this week:
· A major AI review led by Wendy Hall and Jérôme Pesenti to identify the critical elements for this exciting technology to thrive and grow in the UK. It will consider how Government and industry could work together to back this technology, with the aim of establishing the potential for a possible sector deal.
· A funding boost of £17.3 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to support the development of new robotics and artificial intelligence technologies in universities across the UK.