Review Calls for Basic Computer Skills Training
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Report by Baroness Estelle Morris calls for more support for
11.6 million who need basic computing skills training in England
An independent review published today recommends an
all adults in England to access free training in basic ICT skills.
The review, carried out by Baroness Estelle Morris, was
by Government to assess whether the nation’s basic computing skills
needs are being met.
Baroness Morris’s findings indicate there are an estimated
million adults who lack basic computing skills in England and that the
elderly, those socially excluded and those with few qualifications are
most at risk of being left behind in a world that becomes ever more
The review, which has also informed Stephen Carter’s Digital
report, published today, outlines the importance of digital skills to
the health and wellbeing of UK citizens as well as the wider economy.
It calls for a more focused strategy to address the skills gap that has
In advising how best to address the gap in computing skills of
adults in England, the review proposes an ‘entitlement’ to digital life
skills for all adults made up of:
- A social marketing campaign, driven through
Stephen Carter’s Digital Britain strategy, to highlight the benefits of
- A helpline and website with online learning
models as well as links to a range of resource, provided by
broadcasters and other commercial suppliers and
- Access to a diverse range of computing skills
providers to learn the basic skills needed to get online such as using
a mouse and keyboard, using email and using the internet.
Baroness Estelle Morris said
“We must be ambitious about the level of ICT skills in the
community. Increasingly, those who are not ICT literate will find
themselves excluded as technology impacts on more parts of our lives.
“The Government set high standards in 1997 and progress has
made. The ICT infrastructure has been transformed and skill levels have
increased – particularly amongst the young. We need to be careful
though, that we don’t settle for that. It is vital that all citizens,
no matter what their age or their background, are given the chance to
develop basic ICT skills.
“If this is to happen, the Government needs to have a clearer
be less bureaucratic and not as complex. It must work with its partners
from the voluntary and private sector to persuade people that they need
to learn computer skills and make it easy for them to do so.
“The entitlement proposed in this review is a step towards
Kevin Brennan, Minister for Skills in the Department for
Business, Innovation and Skills, said:
“Being able to use a computer and access the internet is a
skill for work and life in the digital age. That’s why we already
invest £9 million in UK Online, which includes 6,000 centres around the
country offering free or low cost access to ICT. I welcome Estelle
Morris’s findings and will look seriously at how we can do more to
improve basic computer skills for adults most in need – including the
unemployed, those at risk of redundancy and older people – as well as
those in jobs.”
Stephen Carter, author of the Digital Britain review,
“Digital life skills are a foundation for participation and
employability in a digital society. Soon, everyone in this
will be connected to broadband so it is crucial every person has the
basic skills and confidence to make the most of the opportunities
broadband will bring.
“I have outlined the importance of Baroness Morris’s findings
Digital Britain Review and look forward to seeing her recommendations
being taken forward for the benefit of those who are in most need of
In making recommendations, Baroness Morris took account of
funded provision of ICT skills and found there had been a 50 per cent
reduction in the number of adults taking up funded ICT
Although research indicates the number of digitally excluded adults has
reduced over time, it is apparent that the gap is widening for those
most at risk: adults over 65, those who are socially excluded
those with few or no qualifications.
Government will consider further how it responds to Estelle
recommendations as the Digital Britain programme is taken forward.
- The Independent Review of ICT User Skills can be
found at www.dius.gov.uk/
- The review was commissioned by John
Denham, when Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and
Skills, and announced in the Learning Revolution White Paper as
follows: “To support the growing importance of digital skills at home
and in work, we have asked Baroness Estelle Morris to chair an
independent review of ICT Skills for Adults to provide a wider
understanding of the current position. The review will address both the
user skills required to participate effectively in the digital society
and the best delivery mechanisms to engage and upskill adults.”
About the Author
from the BERR-
Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI
- Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and
conditions of the Click-Use Licence.
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-06-19 11:31:35 in Computer Articles