UK Government teams up with private sector in new digital strategy

Written by Sebastian Whale on 1 March 2017 in News

The UK Digital Strategy will see businesses including Google, Lloyds and Barclays promote digital skills

Digital skills - Image credit: Eric Gay/AP/Press Association Images

The UK Government is to team up with big business on a number of initiatives as part of its digital strategy, which was published today.

Ministers launched plans to offer more than four million free digital skills training opportunities to millions of people, charities and businesses by 2020 to build a “modern, dynamic and global” trading nation for after the UK leaves the EU.

The UK Government announced partnerships with large institutions, charities and voluntary organisations to offer training in digital across Britain.


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Google plans to launch a summer programme to teach digital skills in coastal towns across the UK to boost tourism and growth, while Lloyds Banking Group will provide face-to-face digital skills training to 2.5 million individuals, small firms and charities by 2020.

Fellow banking giant Barclays will assist around one million people with general digital skills and cyber awareness in 2017, and teach basic coding to 45,000 children.

Other projects involve BT, HP and consultancy firm Accenture.

The UK Digital Strategy also includes plans to create five international technology hubs in emerging markets to provide British business with a “global competitive edge”.

UK Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “The UK’s world-leading digital sectors are a major driver of growth and productivity, and we are determined to protect and strengthen them.

“This Digital Strategy sets a path to make Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business, trial a new technology, or undertake advanced research as part of the Government’s plan to build a modern, dynamic and global trading nation.

“To do that, we will work closely with businesses and others to make sure the benefits and opportunities are spread across the country so nobody is left behind.

“There should be no digital divide - every individual and every business should have the skills and confidence to make the most of digital technology and have easy access to high-quality internet wherever they live, work, travel or learn.”

The plans also include the creation of two forums, one to allow the UK Government to collaborate with the tech community, and the other, to be chaired by Bradley, to help businesses get better access to fast broadband.

But Chris Pennell, an analyst with research company Ovum, questioned the need for what he referred to as talking shops.

"We already have technology forums so why do we need more?" he asked.

"We would be better off joining up the ones that we already have."

Tech City UK chief executive Gerard Grech said: "The UK's tech sector is rapidly becoming a global force to reckon with, but we must ensure that we stay ahead by continuing to provide a supportive environment for British start-ups and digital companies to grow in, especially since other countries are trying to take advantage of our departure from the European Union."

It comes after the UK Government announced fresh funding for the UK’s artificial intelligence sector earlier this week.

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