It was exciting to be invited to attend the launch of the APPG on Digital Skills, firstly because it was held in the UK Parliament but more importantly to be part of the deep commitment to working together to #joinupskills advancing the digital skills agenda.
The purpose of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Digital Skills is; “to provide a forum for parliamentarians, educators and employers to promote the importance of digital skills and to encourage a greater understanding of digital skills for personal, educational and career development.”
PDMS SignedUp Skills fully supports the key objectives of the Group, which are to:
- raise awareness to parliamentarians and policymakers that digital skills are vital to the UK economy;
- communicate the urgency of upskilling the population in digital skills and the importance of improving digital skills to enhance the UK’s productivity, competitiveness and social mobility; and
- work with MPs to champion digital skills #digitalskillschampions in communities, education and the workplace.
Committee Room 17 was standing room only for the meeting, chaired by Chris Green MP with introductory presentations from Nabil Ali, Deputy Director for STEM in Schools, Department for Education; James Clarke, Deputy Director for Digital Skills & Inclusion, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Introductions were followed by the Group’s sponsors Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact and Sustainability Officer, BT; Ken Gaines, Technical Advisor for Digital, City & Guilds; Katie O’Donovan, Head of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Google and Mark Chambers, Director for Policy and Strategy, The Education Technology Association.
The importance of increasing the populations’ digital skills has been prevalent for some time now, becoming more important as each year progresses. Gillian Keegan MP highlighted this in the Apprenticeships APPG back in January 2019, whereas chair of the meeting she focused on digital skills and its uptake in schools and degree apprenticeships during discussions.
Although there is no one-fit-suits-all solution, it is more reassuring to see a coming together of purpose to join-up these disparate services and address the skills needs of the UK economic population.
Digital skills isn’t just about coding or programming, it touches every aspect of modern life and we must ensure every one of us has the opportunity and access to learn, upskill and improve.