James Fisher, Senior Vice President at data analytics firm, Qlik, argues that whilst the Chancellor’s Spring Statement announcements around apprenticeship reforms were positive, he glossed over a huge problem that simply can’t be ignored – the digital skills crisis and the urgent need for improved data literacy across the country:

In the Spring Statement, the Chancellor claimed that ensuring people have the skills that employers need is vital to creating the workforce of the future. And while the statement set out positive updates to T-Level apprenticeships and living wage policies, it glossed over a huge problem that simply can’t be ignored

  1. The digital skills crisis and
  2. The urgent need for improved data literacy across the country.

If we’re talking about equipping people with the skills to succeed in the modern economy, data literacy must be placed front and centre. We need to be empowering students with the data skills to be able to question the data that surrounds them and how it can be used and mis-used.

Equipping them with this knowledge is the only way we can truly help them navigate the digital world in a safer and more informed way. What’s more, in a world where data is the lifeblood of organisations, it is therefore inevitable that those who are data literate and are able to read, work, analyse and argue with data when they leave education will be able to contribute more to their roles in the future – further growing the UK economy.

That’s why data literacy has to become a core pillar of modern education – being viewed as just as important as English or Maths throughout the curriculum, especially as our research has showed that only 21% of British 16-24-year-olds consider themselves to be data literate today.

It will undoubtedly take a combined effort of private and public organisations, education institutions, technology and inspired individuals alike to help us make the shift towards a more data literate society. And that is exactly why we have brought together a community of passionate organisations and individuals in the Data Literacy Project, founded by Qlik.

We aim to inspire people, empower educational institutions to place data literacy into the mainstream curriculum and create the most accessible and comprehensive global data literacy resource to support the future prosperity of our economy as the world of work becomes increasingly digital.

James Fisher, Senior Vice President, Qlik

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