Document Abstract

The case for a systemic approach to digital skills

Makes the case for a systemic approach to the development of a locally led, sustainable ‘digital ecosystem’. Observes that, while most of the UK’s adults now use the internet, there remains a persistent minority of the population who have never been online and a much larger group of people who only use the internet in a very limited way. Highlights the success of local and national programmes that have been useful in learning how to engage with communities and develop digital skills. Notes, however, that this type of approach depends on continuous national funding and typically has little lasting impact on the larger community. Suggests that there is a lack of cohesion between local authorities, housing associations, job centres, health services and voluntary sector providers in working together to engage their customers, and that funding streams to equip citizens to use these online services either do not exist or are not joined up. Contends that the triple challenge of harder to reach individuals, rapidly evolving technology and a need to identify local funding for digital inclusion mean that a review of the approach to digital skills inclusion is required. Argues that a new approach should include: funded training provision; stable and appropriate community access points; and coaches that can give ongoing support to learners to develop existing skills. Suggests that this can be achieved by: local, multiple-partners strategies; using local evidence of needs and benefits; and delivery that takes a holistic approach. Concludes that a systemic approach to digital skills is the only way to achieve a sustainable and flexible outcome.


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Bradbrook, Gail; Power, Gerald
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Citizens Online

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