New research shows over 500,000 North East adults lack basic online skills
01 October 2013
Go ON UK unveils its digital skills delivery plan for region
Photo © ncjmedia.co.uk
- Over half a million adults in North East of England – nearly a quarter of the region’s population - lack the four basic online skills needed to send and receive email, use a search engine, browse the internet and complete online forms
- The North East is the third worst affected region in the UK - following Anglia which has 900,000 (26%) adults lacking basic online skills and Scotland with a further 1.4 million (30%) adults
- Go ON UK unveils plan to ‘super charge’ existing local digital skills activity to deliver a 25% reduction in the number of people below the basic online skills threshold in 12 months
Go ON UK, the cross-sector charity established by Baroness Lane Fox to make the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation, today kick starts Go ON North East – a programme designed to boost the basic online skills of every person, small business and charity across the region.
In the UK one in five adults (21%) currently falls below the basic online skills threshold and 7.1 million of those remain offline. In the North East, 24% of adults are missing out on the social and economic benefits the web has to offer.
By working with local authorities and businesses, Go ON UK aims to build on the success of the 2011 Go ON Liverpool partnership campaign which helped reduce the numbers of offline in the city by 55 per cent in just 18 months.
Graham Walker, CEO Go ON UK said; “We know from lessons learned that working in partnership on a local level is key to bridging the digital skills gap in the UK. The unprecedented results of Go ON Liverpool have provided us with a blueprint. We now want to do the same but on a much bigger scale in the North East of England.”
Councils in the North East have given a commitment to further stimulate behaviour and attitudinal change to encourage citizens and businesses to become more digitally aware, digitally confident and digitally ‘ready’.
Walker continues “Everyone has their part to play. We have given our partners 26 weeks to make a difference. Some partners will run events, provide access points or offer incentives. Others are sharing data, advice, training and space. And we encourage everyone to build a network of local digital champions – real people in the region who are willing and able to share their digital skills with others”.
To support the regional effort, Go ON UK has launched digitalskills.com. Aimed at people and organisations who want to help others maximise the benefits of the web, digitalskills.com will hold a wealth of material and digital tools including step by step guides and learning resources designed to boost the regions digital capability.
Cllr Paul Watson, Chair of the Association of North East Councils said, “Digitally skilled people and workforces are vital to the economic competitiveness of the North East – now and into the future. North East councils are working hard to build on the good progress already made to encourage businesses and residents to develop and improve their digital skills, build greater confidence and adopt innovative approaches that will improve their employment and life chances. At a time when all our efforts are strongly focused on promoting employment in our areas, there is no doubt that digital skills are critical to young people’s educational attainment, access to job opportunities and to the world of work.
“Councils in the North East are able to demonstrate strong credentials in digital and are working hard at local levels, as well as collectively, across wider economic geographies and through partnerships to maximise benefits, achieve critical mass and share good practice”.
Walker concludes: “The regional model that Go ON UK has developed is not designed to be a national programme being brought to the North East; it’s an offer of partnership to maximise the impact of efforts already underway, an opportunity to promote shared messages and to generate a model for sustainable digital skills programmes. No region is doing this effectively and this is a huge opportunity for the North East to showcase its achievements whilst building a replicable partnership model for driving up digital skills nationwide”.
Minister for Civil Society Nick Hurd said: "We have said that we want Britain to be the most digitally capable country in the world. The Go ON campaign is a really important opportunity to help more individuals, businesses and charities seize the possibilities digital provides".