We must work together to address the basic digital skills issue
Tech Partnership CEO Karen Price shares her optimism and drive for taking forward Doteveryone's work on basic digital skills.
Tech Partnership welcomes progress on basic digital skills
As the Tech Partnership assumes responsibility for the basic digital skills agenda, the UK Basic Digital Skills survey issued today, reveals that over a million more adults have gained basic digital skills in the year since the last survey was conducted.
Digital skills are life skills
In the wake of Government's UK Digital Skills Strategy, published today, Rachel Neaman, formerly Go On UK & Doteveryone, explains why it's essential we put basic digital skills on a par with literacy and numeracy.
What is digital exclusion?
Digital exclusion is the inability to access online products or services or to use simple forms of digital technology. This disproportionately affects vulnerable people, low-income groups, the elderly and the more marginalised communities in our society. This creates a strong correlation between digital exclusion and social exclusion.
The economic impact of digital exclusion is equally challenging at a time when 90% of all jobs require some form of digital capability and the UK faces a major shortage of digital skills at all levels.
Digital exclusion heatmap
The Digital Exclusion Heatmap shows the likelihood of digital exclusion across the UK at Local Authority level. It uses 8 different digital and social metrics to calculate the overall likelihood of exclusion, from unlikely to likely.
Originally for Go On UK, Get Digital's heatmap was developed with support from the BBC as part of their Make It Digital and wider digital literacy initiatives, the Local Government Association and The London School of Economics and Political Science, in association with Lloyds Banking Group.
Common causes of digital exclusion
- Skills: including the confidence to use them
- Access: including available infrastructure, broadband speed and local amenities
- Cost: including cost of devices, broadband subscription or monthly fees for mobile data
- Motivation: the personal aspiration that makes gaining digital skills relevant and important. If people fundamentally don't believe that using the internet will be relevant to them and their needs it will be almost impossible to persuade them.
How these causes relate
Skills, access and cost are the ‘hygiene’ factors that need to be in place before anyone can access digital products and services. We cannot simply tackle these barriers in isolation. Investing in broadband is not enough if 21% of adults cannot take advantage of it. And investing in skills and low-cost devices is not enough if the infrastructure is not available for people to use them.
Motivation has the power to reduce or remove the other 3 barriers. When motivation is lacking, it is a significant barrier. When motivation is present, it is a significant enabler.
For businesses and charities, time is more of a barrier to gaining digital skills than access. Motivation, as with individuals, has the power to reduce or remove the other barriers.