UK digital skills gap reveals 12 million shortfall


Go.On UK, a charity says over 12 million people, and a million small businesses in the UK do not have the skills to prosper in the digital era. Asian Lite reports

computerGo.On UK, a charity set up to promote digital skills has warned about htis growing skills gap in UK .

There is bad news for Wales where over a third of the population do not have the five basic digital skills as defined by the charity. But London, Scotland and East Anglia, come top of the league with over 80% of people having those skills.

The map also shows that men are less likely to be digitally disadvantaged than women, with 80% having the necessary skills as compared to 74% of women.

What are these five skills, without which we are unfit for the digital future? Well if you can manage information, communicate, make payments, solve problems, and create stuff online then you are in good shape.

A survey of over 4,000 people nationwide to assess their skills, coupled with data about education, income, health and internet access, have all helped build the exclusion heatmap, says a BBC news report.

The BBC, with its Make It Digital project, is among the institutions backing the map.

Where skills are lacking, poverty and a lack of infrastructure are part of the story.

Wales has the lowest levels of internet access and places like Merthyr Tydfil are amongst the poorest in the UK.

But the charity says the UK isn’t doing too badly compared with other countries when it comes to broadband availability, and in our use of mobile devices we are ahead of many of our rivals.

So you might think that a country which has taken to online shopping and social media with feverish enthusiasm would also be a leader in digital skills.

Go On UK, chaired by the government’s former digital advisor Baroness Martha Lane Fox, is warning of a threat to economic growth, productivity and social mobility if we don’t close the skills gap.

Go On UK is hoping that its map will become a vital tool for those trying to deal with digital exclusion – local authorities, businesses, charities – and help them to target their resources at areas where they are most needed.

But the message of this map is that the UK as a whole will suffer if we do not start to close the digital skills gap, says BBC news.