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Research by techUK with Ipsos MORI and Cisco has revealed that almost 60 per cent of UK adults are interested in developing their digital skills following lockdown.
A Thirst For More
The research has revealed that, following the experience of having to work from home and learn to use collaborative online work and communications platforms, many adults now have a thirst for more digital learning. For example, 58 per cent of online adults in the UK have expressed an interested in developing their digital skills over the next year, with 82 per cent saying that digital skills are likely to grow in importance over the next 12 months.
Although the research shows that the desire to improve digital skills is higher among three-quarters of younger people, the results are still promising across all age ranges.
It is likely that the need to rely on technology to work from home, and thereby retain a job during and beyond the pandemic lockdown has been the key driver in forcing people to learn new digital skills and operate new software in a short space of time.
The fact that adults have been able to acquire new digital skills, albeit under pressure, appears to have boosted their confidence, belief, and enthusiasm about being able to carry on acquiring more digital skills going forward.
For example, 30 per cent of adults (one-quarter of them in the 55 to 75 age range) said they are more confident using technology after lockdown restrictions in the UK. Nearly one-third of those who said they are now more confident are not currently working. This could indicate that older people, who face challenges in the job market anyway, and particularly at a time when there has been a huge number of job losses, could find a way to learn digital skills that could improve their prospects and the prospects of the economy for the future.
Young People Most Affected
It should be remembered, however, that the younger age groups have been most affected by job losses from the pandemic, and fuelling their desire and confidence to learn more digital skills could help their prospects of re-employment and could help boost the recovery.
Digital Skills ‘Toolkit’ Course
The Department for Education, helped by Cisco, has developed a digital skills toolkit for those wanting to access free digital skills courses at introductory, intermediate, and advanced levels. Details can be found here: https://theskillstoolkit.campaign.gov.uk/ .
What Does This Mean For Your Business?
For those who have been fortunate enough to retain their businesses and jobs during the pandemic lockdown, the pressure and necessity to learn and get on top new digital skills and platforms does appear to have been a confidence-booster and has inspired many people to carry on improving their digital skills. Ultimately, this thirst for more digital knowledge is likely to benefit employers and aid the recovery of the UK economy, while going some way to narrowing the IT skills gap that existed prior to lockdown.