BT is ramping up its commitment to boost to digital skills education with a new programme that which aims to provide training to 10 million British citizens and plug an estimated £63bn annual impact on the UK’s competitiveness.
The Skills for Tomorrow initiative will supplement the company’s existing work in this area, which already includes support for the Barefoot computing programme, run in partnership Computing at School, as well as the BT Work Ready scheme.
It is claimed this scheme has already helped more than 70,000 primary school teachers and 2 million children to learn computational thinking and the computing curriculum. BT says it will now provide digital skills and computing training for a further 3 million children by 2025.
The company has also vowed to help a further 5,000 18- to 24-year-olds not currently in education, employment or training acquire new skills, work experience, and ready them for employment or further education. Some 2,700 young people have completed the BT Work Ready programme to date.
For older, more vulnerable, and digitally excluded people, BT is sponsoring 90 community training centres across the UK in partnership with the Good Things Foundation, to help people with face to face support and training.
Meanwhile, it will also provide training, resources and activities to give parents and children more confidence in using digital tech and help bring digital skills thinking into the home.
And finally it aims to provide digital skills training to one million small business owners and employees by 2025 through working with partners including Google Digital Garage and LinkedIn.
BT’s Consumer Division chief executive Marc Allera said: "In the UK, 17 million people lack the essential digital skills that they need to work and thrive in life. That’s contributing to making social divides wider and it’s also impacting on our economy. We want BT to lead the way in ensuring that new technologies do not exclude anyone.
"Now, we want to contribute to making our society more inclusive, to do more for our country. We are launching a programme that will give 10 million people the skills they need for the future. We are going to equip them with a broad set of skills such as logical thinking, problem solving and coding. We are helping children to learn differently for a digital age."