Digital skills are increasingly important for connecting with others, accessing information, services and meeting the changing demands of the workplace & economy.

Without these skills there is risk of being excluded and disadvantaged from opportunities, access to knowledge, benefits, services and increase the risk of social isolation.

In 2018 10% of the UK adult population were internet ‘non-users; ie they had never used the internet or hadn’t for the preceding 3 months.

(Office for National Statistics – Labour Force Survey)

Yet increasing we are having to use computers and mobile phones to submit meter readings, provide satisfactory evidence for an insurance claim or to verify identity to access bank and other account information.

The Essential Digital Skills Framework outlines the 5 key activities that someone should be able to do to:

  • Research and manage information e.g. search engine
  • Sending and receiving and email or text message
  • Buying or selling from a website or installing an app
  • Problem Solving. Using online help, verifying sources of information
  • Creating media (e.g. a video clip for YouTube) or completing an application form

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/essential-digital-skills-framework)

According to the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Index 2018 8% of the population have zero digital skills and further 12% were estimated to be missing in at least one of these .

(https://www.lloydsbank.com/assets/media/pdfs/banking_with_us/whats-happening/LB-Consumer-Digital-Index-2018-Report.pdf)

This is an estimated 20% of the population disadvantaged on one way or another. 10.7 million people. This is estimated to reduce to 7.9 million people by 2025.

(https://www.goodthingsfoundation.org/sites/default/files/research-publications/the_economic_impact_of_digital_inclusion_in_the_uk_final_submission_stc_0.pdf)

 

Why does this matter

The Centre for Economics and Business Research has identified the following benefits for those who have all 5 digital skills:

  • Increased earnings of 3% to 10% of those without
  • Improved chances of finding work and the ability to look for work
  • Retail and transaction benefits. Online shopping on average 13% cheaper
  • Communication benefits. More likely to connect with family and friends and tackle isolation. Or to be on same ‘platform’ as peers
  • Time savings made when accessing government, banking, and council information and services

(https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/householdcharacteristics/homeinternetandsocialmediausage/articles/exploringtheuksdigitaldivide/2019-03-04/pdf)

(Maybe add something about the fact that Croydon and Lambeth have invested a considerable amount to become digital and media centres of excellence – but as on the periphery we have not benefitted to date?)

 


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