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Reducing the digital skills gap

Digital services are becoming more and more integral to our daily lives. Whether that’s shopping online, or collaborating with colleagues on the other side of the globe, digital gives us new opportunities to work in a faster, smarter way. Understandably, it’s no surprise that more and more organisations are embracing digital than ever before.

To better understand this, Fujitsu launched a report into the UK’s digital landscape to see just how well organisations are delivering on digital. The research revealed that more than a fifth of UK consumers will now always opt for a digital-first approach when offered. On top of this, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers revealed they are comfortable with the digital services offered to them by organisations overall.

Conversely, however, we found that for some, confidence in digital services has greatly diminished with 47% admitting they felt the UK is moving too quickly towards becoming a digital nation. Similarly, 30% wished they felt more comfortable using digital services, and 45% agree not enough is being done to educate people on how to use these platforms.

As we move further into the digital age, it’s vital we have people that are digitally-skilled and able to support this evolution. However, according to research from Go ON UK, many people still do not have basic digital skills required, with 12 million adults in the UK are unable to complete five basic online tasks – a worrying thought.

To help address the skills gap, it is 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 to learn digital. Barclays Digital Eagles is a good example of how a business can do this; another example is The Tinder Foundation, which is a public sector funded charity that looks at tackling digital inclusion and community learning. It is no longer just about providing people with the technology, but instead teaching them how to use it.

As well as this, it is up to educational institutions – from primary schools to universities and adult learning centres – to help close the digital skills gap and ensure that the UK and Ireland is, and remains, a global digital powerhouse. With digital sector now making up 10% of the UK’s GDP, we need to invest at the very beginning of the digital journey to help develop the right skills to support the future digital economy.

As the digital landscape continues to develop, it’s vital that we ensure that every aspect of business is grabbing the opportunities it presents with both hands. By promoting digital inclusion, and educating people on how to get to grips with the technology, the UK stands to lead Europe in digital adoption.

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