Prospects supports digital inclusion
Today MPs on the Commons Science and Technology Committee said: "Stubborn digital exclusion and systemic problems with digital education and training need to be addressed as a matter of urgency in the government's forthcoming digital strategy." Prospects, the education, employment, training and care company, recognise how digital exclusion can affect jobseekers, many of whom have never accessed the digital world.
The committee report that 12.6 million adults lack basic digital skills, 5.8 million have never used the internet and 90% of jobs require digital skills to some degree.
Many of the jobseekers Prospects works with, through its provision of the Work Programme and the National Careers Service for the government, find the majority of job applications are online requiring them to have good IT skills and access to a computer linked to the internet. For some, this is a major barrier to overcome.
Prospects advisers across the country work with people individually, and in small groups to help them understand how to search and apply for jobs online. Being excluded from the digital world, either through circumstance or choice, not only prevents people from being able to access the thousands of jobs advertised every day in the UK, but affects people’s confidence and self esteem, vital elements required for employment.
One person Prospects supported is Kerry. In her late 50s Kerry was out of work for more than a year. She had previously worked in kitchens and as a chef, but despite repeated attempts to gain employment Kerry was not successful at applying for jobs on her own. When Kerry joined Work Programme she was unfamiliar with online job search and applications so needed to improve her IT skills. Prospects helped Kerry improve her skills and made sure whenever Kerry was working in the centre there was someone available if she needed help.
Kerry said: “Prospects have been fantastically supportive, they treat me as an individual and they listen. I never used IT in my jobs in the kitchen, so they have helped me by teaching me and are always on hand to give me advice.”
Nick Bell, Prospects Chief Executive commented: “Today’s report shows the UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017. At Prospects we understand it can be difficult to bridge the digital divide for jobseekers with little or no digital experience. We tackle this obstacle to employment by helping our customers gain IT skills and improve their overall employability, in this way we are able to support them into work.”
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Notes to Editor
The full report can be accessed at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmsctech/270/27002.htm
Two photographs are attached, one of Nick Bell, Prospects Chief Executive, the other of Kerry at Prospects Bournemouth office.
The Prospects Group is a dynamic and enterprising organisation providing a wide range of education, employment and skills services in the UK and internationally. At the heart of what we do is the drive to improve the life chances, skills and aspirations of everyone we support. Each year we support more than 500,000 young people and adults.
Alona de Havilland