Digital skills gap harmful to growth of our economy

Jane Binnion.
Jane Binnion.

As I write this it’s International Women’s Day.

It’s also my business’s fourth birthday this week and to celebrate both I’ve joined forces with Sharon Jackson, a local web-designer, and we have launched Women On The Web which I am so excited about.

Things are changing and we have to move with that but we also need to keep explaining and simplifying things so that we don’t leave people behind

We are both educators with a community focus and we want to address the digital inclusion issue locally.

We still have a massive digital skills gap in the UK that is harmful to our economic growth and development.

It’s easy to forget, but of course the over 40s in the UK did not grow up with computers, and whilst they are learning IT, it is not easy. On top of that we have young women who are perfectly competent in on-line life shunning computer studies and IT careers because of what they think is the prevailing geek image.

Things are changing and we have to move with that but we also need to keep explaining and simplifying things so that we don’t leave people behind.

Last week I was with a group and we discussed how the different generations communicate.

Let’s take email. Whilst I use email a lot, both our older and younger generations do not rely on it. My lovely old mum and her friends still prefer the phone, and it would never occur to me to email one of the younger members of my family.

Email is just for formal stuff for them. They have email, but they communicate with their peers via Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook messaging.

It’s my generation who use email the most, but with so much email spam it’s certainly decreasing in popularity.

If I want to make sure someone has got my message I text, or message via LinkedIn, or one of the social media platforms.

Thankfully some organisations are re-thinking their communication and emailing the person at the next desk, rather than talking to them, will hopefully soon be a thing of the past.

My favourite social media story the week is about Andrew Hennells who made the police’s life easier by posting “Doing. Tesco. Over” on Facebook 15 minutes before he held up a Kings Lynn store.

Of course the police arrested him. Now wouldn’t it be great if every criminal did that.

Have a great week and stay safe online.