THURSDAY 15 AUG 2019 2:13 PM

UK FAILS TO PROVIDE DIGITAL LITERACY IN EARLY EDUCATION

The vast majority of UK businesses thrive on digital. Despite such a vast pool of opportunities for young talent, Britain is failing to embed digital literacy across the whole country. To address the nation’s talent pipeline problem, digital and tech trade body Bima is calling on the government to take action, setting the grounds for Digital Day 2019.

The organisation has found out that over one third (34%) of UK students feel they don’t get the digital learning they need, with computer studies courses only covering a limited area of digital skills. From AI to self-driving cars, the rise of new technologies in our lives is calling for more digital talent outside of the computer room; and yet, the UK is failing as a talent producer, missing out on opportunities to introduce young people to a comprehensive set of digital skills.

Aimed both at schools and organisations, Bima’s Digital Day brings professionals from digital and tech companies into the classrooms, allowing them to meet students around the UK. It gives students the opportunity to solve challenges and get insights on the world of digital careers, while exposing organisations to rising talents in schools.

Bima’s call on the government asks to explore different approaches to education, from peer to community-based learning, to inspire young talents and present them with new and emerging career paths. According to the organisation, 90% of Digital Day participants on average say they would consider a career in digital, as a result of the day.

“We urgently need to acknowledge and address the gaps that exist in our approach to digital education,” chair of Bima’s young talent council Amanda Follit says. “They have led to a talent pipeline crisis that UK businesses cannot afford to face.”

According to a recent report from business organisation CBI, both small and larger firms are about to face a talent pipeline crisis, with more than half (60% and 69%, respectively) stating their digital skill needs will increase dramatically over the next two to five years. There is a gap in the UK’s approach to digital education, and Bima’s Digital Day hopes to address the issue, by helping student understand the required skillset for a future career.

At the same time, the institute reports that school registrations for Digital Day 2019 are set to jump this year, with figures already doubling the 5,000 students who took part in 2018’s event. Industry participation is also up by two thirds, with 95 companies currently registered for this year’s event.

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