Digital Jersey announces digital skills strategy

Digital Jersey has launched a skills strategy which it hopes will create a new Digital Enterprise Academy for the island and provide the opportunity for schools to teach digital subjects across all years.

It’s recognised that Jersey needs to grow the digital sector to diversify its economy and to ensure that all local industries are able to compete in a digital world. However to achieve this, there is an urgent need to address the skills gap in the island. Annually, only 17 out of 1,000 Jersey students go on to study digital courses in higher education.

Working with the University of Exeter, local industry and Government, Digital Jersey has been assessing the current provision of digital skills training. This work identified gaps and solutions to the supply of Jersey’s future digital workforce.

The report made two key proposals which would work in conjunction with, and complement, the existing provisions at Highlands and the Beaulieu Institute of Technology:

  1. A new Digital Skills Escalator to create a structure and model for how digital skills can be delivered at all levels on the Island.
  2. A new Digital Enterprise Academy which will act as the focus for a range of important activities including: industry-academic collaboration, teaching and learning and digital start-ups.

The research also highlighted that it isn’t just technical skills which are in demand from digital employers, there is a need for soft skills such as those needed for client relationship management. It called for a push to increase greater awareness of the types of roles available in the industry.

Tony Moretta, CEO, Digital Jersey said: “There is no drawback to investing in digital skills, as everyone needs them. In a diverse industry, with a high demand for qualified students in the workplace, it is essential that education programmes are created with the latest industry needs and employment in mind, and that means encouraging the adoption and enthusiasm for these subjects at an early age.”

Chief Education Officer Justin Donovan said: “Our young people live in a digital world so they need to be prepared to thrive within a digital environment. The Education Department’s key aim is to ensure that they leave school with the skills, competencies, qualifications and attitudes they need to succeed as young adults. We are delighted to have an opportunity to work with Digital Jersey to bring educators and employers together. We will work towards a relevant digital curriculum for our Island’s children and young people, one that can bridge the gap between the skills being taught in school, and those needed in the workplace.”

Andrew Dean, Senior Impact and Partnership Development Manager at University of Exeter added: “Jersey has significant potential to become a leading digital hub – it shares many parallels with other seaside destinations, such as Bournemouth and Brighton which have, in recent years, transformed their economies and the prosperity of their residents in becoming Britain’s leading digital clusters.”

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