We want everyone in Scotland to have the skills and confidence needed to live and work successfully in a technologically advanced and digitally inclusive society.

What are the key actions that you think should be taken forward, and by whom, to achieve this ambition?

Why the contribution is important

We want to improve digital skills across our economy and society – in our education system, in our homes and businesses, in the design and delivery of our public services. We want our citizens and businesses to thrive in a digitally inclusive world.

by ScottishGovernment on November 03, 2016 at 12:32PM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 4 votes


  • Posted by SCVO_Digital November 04, 2016 at 16:38

    The skills theme should identify the different levels and types of digital skills required for modern life and work. This includes:

    1. The basic digital skills everyone needs as a foundation to be able to fully benefit from the internet.
    2. The essential digital skills and competencies all employees need for the modern workplace.
    3. The range of high level skills needed to grow our digital economy (from data scientists to software engineers to cyber security).

    We believe there is a need for a clearer definition and recognition of the essential digital skills and competencies all employees need for the modern workplace (2).
  • Posted by gtlscot November 09, 2016 at 15:02

    The future of skills in Scotland. We talk a lot about digital skills for everyone. Whilst with all changes there will be natural evolution of people gathering the appropriate skills and on the other spectrum as people get older losing these skills as technology advances. It is without doubt that the future will primarily be software based and will need a skilled workforce of programmers and coders to support this. While the SG and UK governments are starting to address in schools with code clubs etc, we could go further.

    In our education systems we mandate pupils completing foreign languages in Secondary, if we looked at the statistics of these courses while there may be a high percentage of staff who obtain a National 5 qualification (standard grade previously) most of these skills will be lost in the future.

    Let Scotland be radical - why don't we mandate this for programming and coding, mandatory coding clubs, instead of hobbyists. Yes a lot will drop out but maybe more will stay engaged and help this nation build in our future skills now. Hard to implement but is not impossible. This could even start as early as P 6/7. Online tutorials could be used in the classroom to make up for the skills gap in our teaching. Make it fun, design games, apps keep it simple at first.

  • Posted by tambo November 10, 2016 at 08:20

    We talk a a lot about digital skills for everyone but then don't provide the digital tools in the workplace that would improve ways of working, efficiency, effectiveness etc. We lock down our systems removing the possibilities of using a range of digital tools and services (often free) because of security risks. Often this is a blanket block and within public sector we have to work through each tool we want to use individually, often at great cost time wise and often failing to get past the first hurdle. We need to approach our security and governance differently if we are to skill staff up and allow them to use their digital skills to improve the workplace. Often the perceived risk is a management risk (ie people misusing for personal use) and the risk should be shifted to management - but often it is much easier just to say NO.
  • Posted by joecar November 10, 2016 at 12:16

    As a result of its review of Key and Essential Skills, the Welsh government concluded that ICT skills alone are no longer enough for contemporary learners, who are often tech savvy but lacking in the knowledge and experience needed to manage technology successfully, safely and with pleasure. As a result, from 2015 the Essential Skills Wales qualification includes digital literacy instead of ICT as a core skill requirement for adults and young people in further education, work-based and adult community learning.
    The report drew from various models to recommend a number of skills strands which were further refined by Cardiff Metropolitan University and Jisc. These are:

    »» Digital responsibility
    »» Digital information literacy
    »» Digital productivity
    »» Digital collaboration
    »» Digital creativity
    »» Digital learning

    It is very likely that England will adopt a similar approach between now and launch of new Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education in April 2017 . We have a bit of a mess in Scotland with Core Skills still underpinning apprenticeships , Core Skills + Essential Skills in College domain , and Skills for Learning Life and Work being the superset talked about if not really supported in schools . It is time that this was cleared up would help informal learning , community learning and workforce development as well as schools , colleges and work based learning. The Jisc Framework is a good place to start and shaped by more than the narrow needs of the IT industry .

    Having said that I do support some coding activity and computational thinking for all school age learners - there are a plethora of funded charities doing this across Scotland currently but it needs something more focused and sustainable. Education Scotland should have an online development programme for primary teachers and a range of creative problems and tasks for learners to engage with - GLOW could easily host this.
  • Posted by paulmartin42 November 15, 2016 at 08:01

    ECDL was a useful vehicle for engendering confidence when ICT first needed teaching. Its drawback was that it was a bit of a blunt instrument. Reviewing the ICT training folder (1990-2010) is instructive since it shows that little really changed, apart from the preferred hardware platform. Looking forward the problems I envisage are:
     - misplaced self confidence of digital natives, particularly at FE
     - cost to cope with misguided ideas such as BYOD (rip)
     - inconsistent application of rules to cope with low level disruption posed by mobiles
     - we are now post-app and should consider carefully what we really want to adopt and not be swayed by the latest gizmos and flash-in-the-pans such as MOOCs; f2f has a lot going for it.
  • Posted by Rab November 15, 2016 at 22:39

    Agree skills needs much more definition and 'why'.
    If we want Scotland to become more prosperous through 'digital' we need many more people capable of producing virtual goods. CodeClan is a great start - but it needs to become all pervasive.
    Basic skills (ECDL) etc is quite another matter.
  • Posted by ScotGovDigitalChris November 17, 2016 at 10:15

    Hi everyone. Thanks for the comments so far. Keep them coming!
  • Posted by ScotGovDigitalChris November 17, 2016 at 10:28

    Hi tambo. Thanks for your comment. It’s entirely understandable that security policies and practices can sometimes be seen as a blocker to new technologies and innovation. At a Scottish Government level, we’re moving steadily to a risk-based approach which aims to better support the adoption of new technology and to manage risks on a case-by-case basis. This will be a fundamental outcome of our forthcoming Cyber Strategy which advocates more agile security processes, leaner but effective governance, and a new methodology for assessing digital/information risks. At a wider government level, a major piece of work on Transforming Government Security is underway which also has the aim of simplifying security requirements and empowering the owners of systems or information assets to make risk-based decisions at a more local level.
  • Posted by lesleyfordyce_PAConsulting December 12, 2016 at 11:13

    Skills - Digital citizens demand digital public servants and politicians
    • We need more skills across the digital spectrum
    • Resulting business change is hard – particularly in the big systems such as health & social care - need to accept that and build or buy capability to deliver the change e.g. service reconfiguration
    • Digital leadership needs to be ramped up – needs to move beyond awareness. We need leaders to have service change experience and they need to ‘get’ digital but not necessarily ‘be’ digital
    • Labour market skills – the agenda should be driven by those who have the skills – user uptake drives change – public services should live or die by whether they deliver user needs
    • What more should be happening in schools to avoid them ‘digitally dumbing-down’ at the school gate? Ask the next generation what they need to become the digital workforce that will drive Scotland’s digital economy.
  • Posted by jamesduff December 14, 2016 at 10:25

    When it comes to digital skills, efforts can often be targeted at specific groups such as Senior Citizen; it should be noted that anyone could be lacking in digital skills, not only due to age or experience, poverty and deprivation are contributors to people lacking basic digital skills.

    Although much more younger people gain experience at school, families that are living in poverty, will not have the same benefits of access at home, as they can’t afford devices or connectivity in the home. This could see children fall further behind compared to their peers.

    We should continue our efforts to promote digital skills through community social settings and ensure that this is available for all age groups, working closely with partners and agency that work with a wide range of demographics to ensure that the divide isn’t widened any further.

    The Digital Participation Charter should continue to actively recruit more businesses to sign up and make a commitment to improving the digital skills of staff and volunteers. Regular assessment criteria on how each signatory is meeting this commitment could add a lot of value, to make sure actions are happening, rather than just a sign up.
  • Posted by Gail_CarnegieUK December 14, 2016 at 13:19

    Policy attention tends to focus on the ongoing need to invest in higher-end digital skills, particularly those that will be required to access the digital careers of the future. This is undoubtedly important: OECD research indicates that workers who use ICT in the workplace frequently have substantially higher wages than those who do not, and the Tinder Foundation estimates 90% of all jobs in the near future will require basic digital skills. We would stress however that there is a need to embed digital skills across the life course, with a dual focus on developing the young workforce as well as provision for people seeking to retrain or move out of unemployment. It is also important to ensure resource is maintained or strengthened for the teaching of basic digital skills. In a context where public and mainstream consumer services are becoming ‘digital by default,’ it is easy to assume that everyone is online and that young people in particular are ‘digital natives.’ Our Understanding Digital Exclusion work indicates that a small but significant minority of young people do not have regular online access and many lack the necessary digital skills to navigate the online world safely and effectively. Our #NotWithoutMe initiative is focused on addressing and testing digital inclusion challenges faced by vulnerable young people. This work has underlined that even young people with reasonably sophisticated digital skills in utilising social media, for example, are often lacking basic digital skills which would be attractive to employers, such as using search engines or sending emails.

    Links to Carnegie UK Trust research and case studies:[…]/

    - Gail Irvine, Policy Officer, Carnegie UK Trust

    Link to the Basic Digital Skills framework:[…]/
  • Posted by jamiegreeneUK December 14, 2016 at 13:55

    The digital skills shortage is being felt in just about every sector. Three quarters of Scottish firms say that digital technologies are essential or important to their plans for growth, yet 30% of the Scottish population lack basic digital skills. This is not about the ability to use a smartphone or upload something onto social media. What’s needed for the workforce of 2030 is investment in skills such as computer programming, cyber security, data analysis and artificial intelligence.

    The latest instalment of the Scottish Government’s latest Enterprise & Skills Review’ full of words like “streamline” and “step-change”, but fails to provide any glimpse of a strategy that will see Scotland benefit from the economic opportunities arising from rapidly developing industries and areas of research and development, such as biorobotics, automated transport and quantum computing.

    What’s needed is a practical and ambitious strategy, using study and foresight from Scotland’s world-class research, innovation and entrepreneurial community to identify digital market opportunities in the run up to 2030, so that we can align our education, training, finance, business and public service sectors to take advantage of those opportunities. For example, ensuring Computing is taught in primary and high schools, giving university students more flexibility to combine disciplines in STEM subjects, and creating better conditions for women to thrive in STEM careers and, in-so-doing, increase our STEM workforce.

    This needs much more than lip service. It requires an effort from the government to work WITH business and academia to nurture young talent and plant the seed of STEM careers from the earliest opportunity through adequately funded and centralised programmes of engagement.

    For example, bringing industry together with high schools can have a seismic impact on how the teachers, parents and pupils perceive STEM career opportunities. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers provides opportunities for teachers to spend a week on placement in industry: helping them to better communicate career options in the classroom; providing them with basic facts about how pupils should apply to technical apprenticeships; networking them with industry contacts who build a relationship with their school; helping teachers put engineering into context and helping them to dispel some of the myths about studying and working in STEM subjects for parents and pupils.

    - Jamie Greene MSP
    Scottish Conservative Spokesman for Technology, Connectivity and the Digital Economy
  • Posted by Carolineb December 14, 2016 at 20:32

    The new digital learning and teaching strategy is a step in the right direction as are the revamped Technologies Es and Os but more support for schools and teachers will be required if they are to make the impact needed at the pace that will meet the needs of children and young people.
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