Both adults and children are failing to adapt to the digital world, with over 12 million adults in the UK lacking basic digital skills, while 22% of IT equipment in schools is ineffective, a report from MPs has found.
The Commons Science and Technology Committee has released a report looking into the UK’s digital skills crisis, and has called on the government to address it, warning it could risk damaging the country’s productivity and competitiveness.
In our nation’s schools the report also found that just 35% of computer science teachers had a relevant qualification, while only 70% of the required number of computer science teachers have been recruited;
To cope with the increasing demand for digital skills workers, the UK needs another 745,000 workers by 2017, while the current skills gap costs the economy around £63bn a year in lost income.
“Digital exclusion has no place in 21st Century Britain. While the Government is to be commended for the actions taken so far to tackle aspects of the digital skills crisis, stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems with digital education and training need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in the Government’s forthcoming Digital Strategy,” stated the report.
Nicole Blackwood, the committee’s chairwoman, has urged for businesses to commit to more investment and higher levels of training for all education ages.
“The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind. We need to make sure tomorrow’s workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers need,” said Blackwood.
Responding to the report, a government spokesperson said: “This government recognises the crucial role digital skills play in our society and economy. Our Digital Strategy, to be published shortly, will set out how we will help employers and individuals access the tools they need to power our digital economy.
“This will make sure we are well placed to remain a tech leader in Europe. We will consider the Select Committee’s report and respond in due course.”
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