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Digital Skills Blog

Digital Skills: Looking to the future

21st August 2017

Cosmic is now able to boast a range of digital skills training and support services that stretches end-to-end.

From those requiring basic digital skills and understanding, all the way through to more advanced learning in subjects such as data security and privacy, search-engine-optimisation (SEO), web development and much more. We are also now able to work with people from the widest possible scope in terms of how they are utilising these newfound digital skills; from those improving their skills so that they can seek employment, all the way through to senior executives, whose knowledge of digital technologies will make them better equipped to build successful strategies for future years.

Cosmic is proud to have been at the forefront of delivery, developing and supporting the significant increase in digital skills here in the south west for the past 21 years.

Our work is as important now as it ever was. When we look at the years ahead - with even more challenges in business and society - then we have a strong commitment to keep working towards increased knowledge, understanding and application of digital technologies. This will make for better business, improve lives and give everyone a great chance to enjoy and benefit from the technological developments still to come.

Nina Goodwin, CosmicDigital technology has transformed society, both in the workplace and at home. In 2015, the House of Lords Digital Skills Committee observed that: “The twenty-first century has already witnessed remarkable technological breakthroughs and has been considered to be a revolutionary period of history—a ‘second machine age’. This revolution has been driven by the development of digital technology and is taking place on a global scale—affecting everyone—at a pace that is historically unprecedented.”

The Digital Skills Taskforce, which was commissioned by the then Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband, and chaired by Maggie Philbin, a former Tomorrow’s World presenter (good friends of Cosmic!), argued in its interim report that: “Increasingly we all need basic digital skills to participate in everyday life as a digital citizen, whether it is to communicate, find information or purchase goods/services. These levels of basic digital skills have become an almost universal prerequisite to employment: almost everyone needs to be able to use the internet, process simple word documents and find information online. Lack of such skills can lead to exclusion from society as well as the job market.”

Apple Store ExeterThe digital sector makes a significant contribution to the UK economy. For example, TechCity UK’s Tech Nation 2017 report claimed that the UK was the “digital capital of Europe”. The House of Lords Digital Skills Committee suggested that it was increasingly difficult to distinguish between the ‘digital economy’ and the rest of the UK economy: “The whole economy has become digitised. It would be a mistake to take the ‘digital sector’ as our sole focus of interest. As digital is pervasive across most aspects of our lives, so the ‘digital economy’ is becoming synonymous with the national economy.”

On Tuesday 22nd August, Cosmic will be welcoming the new Head of Digital Skills Partnerships UK, Simon Leeming, to our office in Honiton, Devon. Simon is now in a position to develop plans for the government, which focus on further development of digital skills, support and training programmes, and he will report direct to the Minister for Digital, Matt Hancock. Our joint Chief Executives Julie Hawker and Kate Doodson have attended several of the early Digital Skills Taskforce meetings in London and been able to provide information, case studies and input to the discussions so far. On Tuesday, we will also be welcoming guests from partner organisations across the south west, who will be joining in discussions about how digital skills development has progressed in recent years, and the plans for the years ahead. Representatives from the LEP, local councils, business support agencies and the colleges will be present and it will provide an ideal opportunity for us to reflect and develop our thinking for the challenges ahead.

Training sessionOne reflection to share in advance of these discussions is that Cosmic has experienced a very high level of partnership working in recent years, and is now benefiting from collaboration with many partners across Devon and Somerset. This means added-value for our customers and projects. We really hope that this is a clear indication of high quality partnerships featuring well into the future.

Cosmic will use these years ahead to deliver its programmes of support as described above. But we will also seek new opportunities and innovations, new partnerships and collaborations with the aim of ensuring that digital skills are always delivered in the best possible way for the people they will benefit, and that the economy and lives of people here in the south west will improve as a result.