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Poor IT skills curb growth of UK knowledge economy, says report


UK citizens lack the skills needed to prosper in the digital society, according to the results of a new study.

Almost a third of adults say they have poor or no computer skills and one in six workers today feel they lack the IT skills needed to do their job adequately.

The report, commissioned by Microsoft, revealed that almost half of all adults feel their computer skills are in need of improvement and 43% are concerned they are not keeping pace with advances in IT and technology. The results also revealed that fear is one of the main barriers preventing people learning more about technology with 12% feeling marginalised as a result of ineffective computer skills.

In response to the findings, the Microsoft digital literacy curriculum - a new long term strategic partnership between Microsoft, learndirect, UK Online centres and OCR (Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations)- has been forged. It aims to help close the nation’s skills gap, supporting the government’s Skills for Life goals set by the Leitch Review.

David Lammy, minister for Skills said: "In our knowledge economy we must ensure that everyone is given the opportunity to build their skills and realise their potential. The new qualification will give students a nationally recognised qualification from one of the world’s most respected businesses. It also gives those taking the qualification a chance to build not only their IT skills but also improve on their literacy and numeracy.”

The curriculum contains important guidance on safety and security for people concerned about using PCs and the internet for the first time.

Clara Kenyon, qualifications director at OCR added: "The digital literacy curriculum opens up learning to people who may otherwise lack an obvious entry point to gain vital ICT skills.

"It has the potential to lead to more advanced ICT skills training, and also embeds a significant amount of literacy and numeracy skills. The whole course is delivered in a way which is relevant, accessible, and can help re-engage learners based on an increased level of confidence.”

The curriculum is available online and through participating learndirect and UK online centres.


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