BT: Britain's digital skills shortage is costing SMEs £85bn
BT is to launch a digital skills training programme, to plug an £85bn productivity gap in the UK economy, according to a number of senior figures at BT.
BT's digital skills training programme, dubbed Skills for Tomorrow, will help to upskill 10 million people in the UK, imbuing them with the skills they need to thrive.
"In the UK 17 million people lack the essential digital skills that they need to work and thrive in life. That's contributing to making social divides wider and it's also impacting on our economy. We want BT to lead the way in ensuring that new technologies do not exclude anyone," Marc Allera, CEO of BT's Consumer Division, said at an industry event in London on Wednesday.
"We are already doing something about that, with our Barefoot Computing programme, which has helped over 70,000 primary school children and 2 million children acquire they skills they need to be ready for their future.
"Now, we are using our scale and our expertise to provide essential digital skills training so that we contribute to making our society more inclusive, to do more for our country. We are launching a programme that will give 10 million people the skills they need for the future – we are calling it "Skills for Tomorrow".
"This is an initiative that will reach 10 million people, young and old. We are going to equip them with a broad set of skills such as logical thinking, problem-solving and coding. We are helping children to learn differently for a digital age," he said.
An £85bn productivity gap
BT's CEO for the Enterprise division, Gerry McQuade, said that Britain's businesses were currently grappling with a climate of uncertainty, with many lacking the confidence to invest in the digital skills training that would safeguard their futures.
"The digital skills shortage amongst SMEs alone is creating an £85 billion productivity gap in the UK. We want to play our part in fixing that," he said.
"As part of our ongoing investment, we are aiming to boost the digital skills of 1 million SMEs and their employees by 2025.
"We are partnering with Google Digital Garage to deliver digital skills workshops, online tutorials, mentoring and support for SMEs across the country.
"Our role is clear: We need to deliver the best, next-generation networks and digital technologies, with radically improved local, personal service and greater access to our expertise.
"That's how we can help our business customers to unlock their potential and build a digital future for the UK."
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