Millions of digital training opportunities created to support UK’s digital economy

More than four million free digital skills training opportunities will be created across the UK to help make sure people have the right skills for the digital economy.

As part of its newly launched Digital Strategy, the UK Government has announced training commitments from businesses, including:

  • A plan by Lloyds Banking Group to give face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, charities and small and medium businesses by 2020;
  • Barclays plans to teach basic coding to 45,000 more children and assist up to one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness;
  • 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 HP Foundation will bring a free online learning platform to the UK in a bid to improve business, IT and digital skills for disadvantaged groups in the UK, aiming 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, reaching up to 100,000 people across the UK; and
  • Google has pledged to help boost digital skills in seaside towns.

Known as the Digital Skills Partnership, the initiative supports the Government’s aim “to ensure everyone has the skills they need to flourish in a digitally-driven economy”.

The Digital Strategy also sets out plans for a Secretary of State-led forum for the Government and the tech community to work together to drive growth in the digital economy, through innovation and the adoption of digital in the wider economy.

Meanwhile, a new competition aims to spark the development of new financial technology products, and five international tech hubs will be established in emerging markets to create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms.

The Government also confirmed a £1bn programme to accelerate the development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure, including full fibre broadband plans and 5G.

Welcoming the Digital Strategy, the CBI’s deputy director-general, Josh Hardie, said:

“UK companies are at the forefront of the digital revolution. The pledges announced by the Government underline businesses’ commitment to build the skills we need for a modern economy, as well as tackle barriers to technology adoption.

“To uphold our position as a world-leading digital economy, businesses and the Government need to work together – the strategy’s focus on skills, connectivity and innovation provide a useful framework for this.”

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