From education to employment

Lack of digital skills is costing UK workers more than £5bn in earning

A lack of basic digital skills is costing workers and the UK economy billions of pounds, a study has suggested.

Simon Carter, Director, RM, said:

“News that a lack of digital skills is costing UK workers more than £5bn in earnings should come as no shock to employers.  Perhaps more concerning, however, is the finding that more than five million people in the UK are unable to carry out simple online tasks such as sending an email.  In a digital-first world, there’s a risk of socially excluding the less digital savvy unless we teach online literacy from an early age and help equip the next generation of workers.

“It’s about starting from the ground up – and that means making sure education institutions are supported to better prepare young people for digital roles. Currently, the biggest barrier to education institutions becoming digital-first is a lack of confidence amongst teachers when it comes to using technology. RM’s research revealed that 79% of teachers recognised their school’s historic use of technology (pre-COVID) was insufficient for what is required to deliver good educational outcomes for children. What’s more, teachers say a lack of training is their biggest challenge when using the technology.  These gaps in teacher knowledge are inevitably having an impact on the development of learners’ digital skills.

“During the pandemic we saw schools turning to technology as a way to continue the education of their students – whether that was through downloading workbooks from a school website, submitting homework via a software application, or conducting live lessons online.  The level of resourcefulness was incredible, and one of the benefits was not just in filling the gap when a child could not physically be in a classroom, but it was about preparing those learners for the next stage of their career – giving them confidence in how to create a presentation, navigate a spreadsheet, and collaborate with peers. More of this digital upskilling can only mean good things for the UK’s economy – both now and in future.”

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