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The Digital Skills Gap: A postcode lottery?

18/12/2017

Digital skills is currently a hot topic in the UK. The news agenda has been filled with a variety of views and reports, especially from Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn budget statement. According to research from Rural England and Scotland’s Rural College – commissioned by Amazon – around 80% of rural firms said they see online tools as key to their future growth prospects, but more than half complained of a lack of digitally-savvy staff and training opportunities. This led us to think, does your postcode matter when it comes to accessibility of digital technology and skills? In our latest blog, we take a look at the digital skills gap and its impact on the UK.

Digital skills

Meeting the Digital Challenge

Preconceptions of farming may depict basic machinery – the modern-day reality is very much different. Innovation and technology has a major part to play in farming, with some farming businesses using global-leading technology to streamline, improve efficiencies and maintain business stability. That said, the digital skills gap is apparent and challenging rural industries. According to the research findings, one fifth of the 800 companies asked said they struggled to find the right staff and that their existing workforce didn’t have the necessary digital skills. In addition, almost two thirds of firms said cloud computing was key to their future growth, followed by 5G mobile networks on 54%, the Internet of Things on 47% and machine learning and Artificial Intelligence on 26%.

Based on recent news stories, it seems as if rural communities are not alone experiencing the digital skills gap. The Federation of Small Businesses has called on the Government to tackle the digital skills shortage in smaller firms or risk stalling productivity. So irrelevant of postcode, it seems as if there is a gap between the digital skills and technology required, and what is readily available.

Digital Skills 101

What are the top digital skills in demand? Here are three skills that are in demand, a definition and where you can go to help build your knowledge and polish-up on your skillset.

As you reflect on 2017 and put together your 2018 New Years’ resolutions, consider how you would look to your current or future employer simply by adding a digital skill to your CV?   With lots of free options available, and a real thirst from business owners for digitally skilled savvy team members, it makes sense to get trained up in order to become more appealing to business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, ultimately making you stand out from the crowd.

Written by Holly Forrest, Cherish PR

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