Skip to main content

Digital Technology: Disadvantaged

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 78404, tabled on 19 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what assessment she has made of the potential merits of the recommendation of the North East LEP report, entitled Digital Exclusion in the North East LEP Area, published in September 2021, to introduce short, practical courses and advice on digital skills delivered in informal, community-based settings.

Answered on

29 November 2021

The Digital Exclusion in the North East LEP Area report highlights priority actions for tackling the economic and skills impacts of digital exclusion. As mentioned in the report, digital inclusion is a complex issue. Addressing this challenge requires collaboration between the government, businesses and academia.

To gain and develop essential digital skills, the government introduced a new digital entitlement for adults with low digital skills to undertake improved basic skills qualifications free of charge.

The Government has introduced a range of opportunities to access digital skills training and gain digital skills qualifications, including through short courses. Digital bootcamps offer digital skills training in skills that are in particularly high demand from industry. The courses are free, flexible and last up to 16 weeks. At Budget it was announced that there would be further investment in skills bootcamps, with the aim to quadruple the number of places.

To embed digital skills into the higher education and further education curriculum and as part of the National Data Strategy skills commitments, the government has committed to test the most effective ways to teach foundational data skills to undergraduates in two ways – through offering modules including wider subjects such as AI, cyber and digital skills, and by integrating data skills in other subject areas. Universities will take part in the pilot on a voluntary basis.