Technology has taken on a decisive role in business, culture, and society. But it’s not enough to just have access to the right kind of tools. Technological literacy – the ability to understand and use these new tools – is also vital. The move towards a digital business environment means that digital skills have never been in higher demand.
The general public is aware of this: the majority of people agree that technology can positively impact the development of new skills.
However, despite nearly two thirds (63%) of business leaders saying that they are confident their employees have the right skills to make the most of new technologies, only a third of the UK public currently feel fully prepared for technological change. The same number believe they have the necessary skills to take advantage of new technology.
Although this is disheartening at first glance, it’s important to look at the bigger picture: we are a nation experiencing exponential growth in digital innovation.
In order to continue this growth, private and public organisations need to work together to ensure the next generation is properly equipped to become the workforce of the future. It’s the responsibility of organisations to get involved and help people of all ages get enthused about digital.
Opportunities such as apprenticeships, training courses and workshops can encourage people of different ages and backgrounds – as well as people throughout the business – to use these skills. As the workplace becomes ever more digital, it will require a more advanced skillset to drive it forward.
Barclays Digital Eagles is a good example of how a business can do this. The company provides practical and accessible tools for the general public to pick up digital skills, including programmes targeted at children and older people. Another example is The Tinder Foundation, a public sector funded charity that looks at tackling digital inclusion and community learning.
But it doesn’t stop there; collaboration also offers an exciting way forward. Private and public sector organisations have the opportunity to partner with educational institutions to open up more paths into science and technology careers.
It’s great to see that this is already starting to happen – see the news that schoolchildren in England will be offered lessons in cyber security in a bid to find future talent and overcome the skills shortage undermining confidence in the UK’s cyber defences.
At Fujitsu, we create innovation hubs that support digital learning initiatives and encourage the development of digital skills for students and teachers.
As part of our Education Ambassador Programme, we develop innovation hubs across the country. A great example of one of our hubs is South Devon College. This innovation hub gives students access to cutting-edge equipment and practical industry expertise, providing an example of how collaboration can help develop a technologically skilled population. This generation will be vital in driving our businesses and society forward.
These partnerships exemplify the idea that it’s not just about learning how to use technology, but how it actually applies to everyday lives. Inspiring young people is often a matter of showing them how they can impact the world, and there’s never been a greater opportunity for one person to make a difference than with digital technology.