The UK Government has announced launch of a £1 million Digital Skills Innovation Fund to help people from underrepresented groups gain the necessary skills to work in the digital economy.
The funding will be used to help women, disabled people, people from minority backgrounds or those living in lower socioeconomic areas train for roles in the digital economy, skills which are being so disappointingly overlooking during traditional education curriculums. The fund will launch in September and will aim to support the Government’s Digital Strategy.
“It is crucial everyone is able to take advantage of digital technology, whether it is to learn how to use the internet or develop the skills to work in a tech role,” said Minister for Digital Margot James. “If we want to maintain our position as a world-leading digital economy we need to work with industry, local authorities and the voluntary sector to develop solutions so no-one is left behind.”
“As the rate of technological change and innovation continues, ‘tech’ is becoming increasingly integrated within every sector and industry,” said Local Enterprise Partnership Network chair and Digital Skills Partnership board member, Christine Gaskell. “We share the aspiration to ensure that more people have the skills and creativity that will enable them to contribute to, and benefit from, new economic opportunities and deliver more inclusive growth.”
An additional £400,000 Digital Inclusion Fund has also been launched to help older and disabled people acquire digital skills. This fund is aimed at helping people to adapt to digital life as opposed to employment. As society moves more towards digital first, it is important to remember there are still those who lack the ability book GP appointments online, use apps to communicate with friends and family, or make the most of search engines. These skills might seem simplistic to most, but it is crucial the small percentages of society are not left behind and inadequately prepared.
While these initiatives are crucial in ensuring everyone benefits from the digital boom, you have to wonder why the issue is not being addressed at the source. Some might suggest education for most is too traditional, and curriculums in both primary and secondary schools needs a significant overhaul.