In today’s current climate, possessing digital skills is a crucial part to many organisations and most will require that you have some level of digital knowledge. Unfortunately, there is a ‘digital skills gap’ in society and BCS have highlighted this issue some time ago and “campaigned for the comprehensive and wide-ranging provision of digital education and training to address the skills gap”.
Can the digital skills gap finally reduce through the Governments new legislation?
The skills “revolution” for England, announced in the Queen’s Speech along with the UK Government announced plans to decrease the digital skills gap in the State Opening of Parliament. This included a Lifetime Skills Guarantee which is part of their blueprint for a post-16 education system that will ensure everyone regardless of where they live can obtain the work skills they need at any stage of their lives.
Following an article from bcs.org, Annette Allmark, Head of Apprenticeships at BCS, said: ‘These plans will provide more people with access to the training in digital skills they need to progress in fulfilling careers – and develop the skills the economy needs to flourish and ‘build back better’ after the pandemic.
‘Hopefully, this funding will also increase the diversity of people learning digital skills now and in the future. It’s important that the government continues to build on the many excellent training opportunities already available, such as the wide range of the popular digital apprenticeships.’
The government says its new legislative programme will be ‘focused on supporting the nation’s recovery, backing the NHS, levelling up and spreading opportunity.’
What were the key points of the legislative measures?
- A new student finance system to change the current student loans system, giving every adult access to a flexible loan for higher-level education and training at university or college, useable at any point in their lives.
- Employers to have a statutory role in planning publicly funded training programmes with education providers through a Skills Accelerator programme.
- The Secretary of State for Education will have more powers to intervene in colleges that fail to meet local needs, and to direct structural change where needed to ensure the provider improves.
This positive news will help to change the lives of many people living in the UK who do not currently hold the adequate digital skills many employers are seeking. The funding will help people from all ages to obtain the correct qualifications they need for the workplace which will begin to reduce the digital skills gap in the UK.
How do we know there is a digital skills gap in the UK?
BCS stated in the same article that 70% of business owners are struggling to find employees with the right level of digital skills which is resulting in a huge financial loss for the British industry. Many people today feel like they do not have the level of expertise due to a lack of education in digital technology as it’s constantly evolving. Some research suggests that 50% of UK workers feel like they are underqualified in today’s digital world.
However, with the help of education systems, digital training centres and additional funding from the Government, you can enhance your skills to become successful and a key employer given the right digital and IT training.
Let’s take a look at a number of ways how you can develop your digital skills and expand your technical expertise to boost your career and get over this learning hurdle.
Ways to improve your digital skills
- Take a BCS course
A BCS course is accredited and you will gain a qualification after taking one which is a huge benefit to you if you’re looking to start a new career. Depending on the line of work you’re looking to go into, you can learn what is required for that role and then take the necessary course to give you the right skills and training. BCS courses at Cheshire Digital Skills Academy allow you to study at your own convenience, so even if you have a current position but you’re seeking a promotion for a more advanced and technical role, you can learn from home and around your busy schedule. To see the different BCS courses available you can visit our page to review what each one entails.
- Look at free courses online
The Government, although have agreed to increase funding, do also offer many free online courses to people across the country, regardless of age or circumstances. On the UK Governments website, they state “Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects”.
According to various articles, including one from worksmart.org, they suggest Google Digital Garage which offers free training in data and tech and also digital marketing. They then go onto say once you have completed these free courses, you will have a good level of confidence and knowledge to then go to further studying such as a degree or at online training school to earn a solid qualification in digital skills, just like we provided here at CDS Academy.
- Read blogs, articles and news online that are focused on digital skills
Reading books, online articles and news can help to boost your digital knowledge and keep you up to date with the latest trends, technologies and IT systems. You can use Google search to find topics related to what you want to study as well as ordering books online from places like Amazon or download online or audio books onto your kindle which will give you that cutting-edge and extra advantage. Podcasts are also becoming a great educational tool and there are hundreds of videos on platforms such as YouTube that can teach you many beneficial digital skills.
Both of these videos focus on ‘Google’ digital skills but you can search for a specific IT subject and software application such as excel, word, presentation or database.
If you would like to boost your existing digital knowledge, we offer many different IT training courses that are accredited and non-accredited and suitable for people at all stages, from beginners through to advanced level 3. We also provide businesses with bespoke IT training to give employees additional digital skills which they can apply to the workplace. Our digital courses can be taught at our training centre in Chester on a one-to-one basic or as a group workshop. We also provide learners with the option of distance learning and online courses so they can study remotely from home or from their working environment. Please get in touch today to enquire about any of our Digital IT training or BCS courses at Cheshire Digital Skills Academy.