From education to employment

J.P. Morgan commits £1.3 million to ‘Power Up’ digital skills in the UK

Helen Milner OBE, Good Things Foundation Chief Executive

J.P. Morgan, with Good Things Foundation, today (19 Jun) launch Power Up, a pioneering £1.3 million initiative to help individuals, businesses and communities to participate by helping people in underserved communities build the digital skills that they need to qualify for in-demand jobs.

Good Things Foundation – a social change charity, and sector-leader in digital inclusion for socially excluded groups – will deliver the new Power Up initiative.

Despite widespread internet access, there is a deep divide between those who have the digital skills and confidence to benefit fully, and those who do not.

The latest Ofcom release shows a 17% gap in internet use between adults in high and low socio-economic groups.1 Of people with zero digital skills, 46% earn less than £17,499 a year.2 People with basic digital skills can expect a lifetime increase of their average earnings of 2.8%.3

Across the UK, governments, corporates, community organisations and charities are working to close the digital divide. Power Up is an exciting new contribution, that will support and motivate people to apply digital skills in their lives or businesses, and will use digital inclusion to catalyse collaboration locally.

Informed by new research (also launched today) by Good Things Foundation, Power Up aims to improve people’s digital skills, motivation and confidence.

It focuses on three key themes:

  1. Jobs and skills
  2. Financial health
  3. Small business support.

The research – Powering Up: How we enable more people, communities and businesses to participate fully in a digital economy – makes important recommendations for government, corporates and civil society.

It highlights that much more needs to be done, and with greater urgency, to bridge the UK’s digital divide.

A key recommendation is that governments at all levels should embed digital skills in major initiatives for jobs and skills, financial health, and small business support – so that digital is integral, not a ‘bolt-on’.

The Power Up initiative is looking for applicants who want to rise to this challenge.

Applicants will already be experts in providing community-based, person-centred support to people on low incomes; or in providing support to small businesses.

They will be looking for opportunities to transform their offer so that digital skills are embedded more fully; or to extend their offer, where they have a proven track record of embedding digital skills in their support.  

Power Up will support activity in:

  • Bournemouth
  • East London
  • Edinburgh, and
  • Glasgow

All of which are local to J.P. Morgan’s largest UK operations.

Power Up demonstrates J.P. Morgan’s commitment to address the key drivers of inclusive growth by making big, long-term investments that directly leverage their firm’s talent and resources to create a lasting impact in their communities.

J.P. Morgan’s commitment in Power Up is also part of its $350 million global five-year commitment to the future of work to help under-served populations develop critical skills for in-demand careers through new investments in education and training programs and building a future-ready workforce by forecasting emerging employee skillsets, career pathways and upskilling opportunities.

In all of these locations the firm’s employees will invest their time and talents in supporting the community organisations who are delivering digital skills training to those who can most benefit from it.

In Scotland, Good Things Foundation is working with SCVO (Scottish Council of Voluntary Organisations) to help deliver the initiative. 

The  initiative has been welcomed by the UK government’s Digital Minister Margot James MP, and the Scottish government’s Minister for the Digital Economy, Kate Forbes MSP.

Dan Zinkin, Managing Director, Global Technology for Digital Investment Banking at J.P. Morgan, says:

“Digital skills are essential today and have the potential to change lives – helping people to find work, grow their businesses and take charge of their finances. Through Power Up, the impact of today’s initiative will be to enable more people to contribute to and share in the rewards of a growing economy. J.P. Morgan is passionate about the impact that developing digital skills can have on our economy and our society, and we’re delighted to be working with Good Things Foundation to launch Power Up.”

Margot James MP, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries, says:

“I am delighted to see the private and charity sector joining forces to help improve people’s digital skills across the country through the Power Up initiative. Collaboration is essential to make sure everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of the UK’s digital economy and to effectively tackle issues surrounding digital inclusion.

“This initiative complements the work we are doing in Government to empower regional businesses, educators, charities and public sector to come together to boost skills and the local economy through our Local Digital Skills Partnership. I look forward to seeing a digital skilled workforce of the future emerge.”

Kate Forbes MSP, Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, says:

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work right across sectors to improve digital inclusion, maximise economic prospects, and ultimately to close the digital divide. The Scottish Government is pleased to support JP Morgan’s innovative initiative. It is designed to help individuals, communities and businesses to support people with their digital skills. The initiative is an important step towards bridging the digital skills gap and ensuring that everyone in Scotland can enjoy the social, cultural and economic benefits of the internet.”

Helen Milner OBE, Good Things Foundation Chief Executive, says:

“The world we’re living in is changing rapidly, and although digital has the power to revolutionise both our lives and our work, many people are being left behind. That’s why we’re delighted to be working with J.P Morgan to deliver a new kind of initiative that will change how digital skills support is delivered. J.P. Morgan’s Corporate Responsibility mission is to enable more people to contribute to and share in the rewards of a growing economy, so that’s why working with them is such a great fit. This initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of the people we’re supporting, and I know the learnings will have a long term impact on the sector, and the way digital skills support is delivered.”

The report launched today by Good Things Foundation – Powering Up: How we enable more people, communities and businesses to participate fully in a digital economy – makes recommendations for governments, corporates and civil society on how to effectively embed digital into small business, jobs and skills and financial health support.

The Powering Up research report has been supported by J.P. Morgan; the contents and opinions in the report are those of the authors alone and do not reflect the views of J.P. Morgan or any of its affiliates.

[1] Ofcom 2019, Adults: Media use and attitudes report 2019. Of adults in AB households, 6% do not use the internet compared to 23% of adults in DE households.

[2] Simeon Yates and Good Things Foundation, The Real Digital Divide, 2017.

[3] Cebr, The economic impact of Digital Inclusion in the UK, 2018.

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