Digital skills are vitally important for people and organisations. Digital is already part of everyday life and is changing the world of work in fundamental ways.

But 11.3 million adults in the UK still lack the basic digital skills required to safely benefit from, participate in and contribute to the digital world. The UK digital skills productivity gap in the workplace has been estimated at £63 billion a year. And too few young people are being equipped with the digital skills necessary for roles in the tech sector.

The Good Things Foundation

In Sheffield, education providers, employers and the Local Authority have been working together for the past decade to develop opportunities for young people and adults to gain digital skills and develop digital awareness.  You can see the evidence of that work and find out what has been happening on this website.

Now an informal action group has formed, the Sheffield Digital Skills Action Group, as a sub-group of Sheffield’s Digital Coalition. You can download the terms of reference here.

 

You’ll see that the group is focusing initially on the kinds of skills needed to go into digital roles, either in the tech sector itself or in technology-based organisations – which is increasingly most organisations, especially larger ones.

On the basis of existing evidence, the group is proposing 7 key priorities to help facilitate:

  1. A digital sector showcase for both young people and adults to understand about digital roles, careers and study paths in Sheffield and beyond
  2. Video profiles of 6 digital roles in 6 local companies, so 36 jobs in all, with associated teaching resources to use in schools and with adults
  3. A brokerage service to co-ordinate tech sector/education engagement across the city:
    1. Deliver a programme of locally informed digital careers awareness and industry-related experience for students, teachers, parents
    2. Secure business challenge projects from employers for enrichment activities
    3. Broker industry masterclasses, visits and mentoring opportunities
    4. Set up tailored work experience to match young people’s interests
    5. Harness the involvement of big players like NHS, HSBC etc
  4. Innovative activities to inspire a more diverse range of young people about digital opportunities, particularly aged 11-13 ahead of GCSE choices
  5. Innovative activities to engage, inspire and upskill a diverse range of adults to take up opportunities in the digital sector, especially women, those who are neurodiverse, and those from disadvantaged backgrounds
  6. A city-wide advertising campaign to raise the profile of jobs and skills in the digital sector targeting adult re-trainers, parents and young people, as well as targeted engagement of key groups
  7. Maintenance of the www.sheffielddigitalskills.org.uk website and social media as a central point of information and co-ordination of activity

Progress around these priorities and other developments across the city to develop digital skills and digital awareness will be reported on this website. Please also follow our Twitter account @SheffDigiSkills.

We are always keen to hear ideas and comments, so please get in touch, especially if you want to get involved.

Useful documents

Sheffield City Region Digital Action Plan (SCR LEP, Jan 2018)

Sheffield City Region Digital Action Plan – the Evidence Base (SCR LEP, Jan 2018)

UK Digital Strategy (UK government, March 2017)

Essential Digital Skills Framework (UK government, Sept 2018)