Collaboration key in implementing refreshed Digital Skills Strategy

Posted: Wednesday 16 November 2022

The recommendations of a new report analysing the current digital skills landscape in Jersey must be implemented ‘collaboratively and with focus’ for the island to maintain a productive, sustainable workforce capable of competing on the international scene, according to the CEO of Digital Jersey.

Digital Jersey’s refreshed ‘Digital Skills Strategy: 2023-2028’ was launched at an event last week (10 November) at the Radisson Blu Hotel to an audience of more than 100 digital, financial services and other business professionals, as well as educators, public sector officials and politicians.

The report updates a previous five-year strategy undertaken by a team from the Marchmont Employment and Skills Observatory at the University of Exeter. The new report, published by the same team, reviews the progress that has been made since 2018 and makes a number of recommendations to ensure Jersey maintains its momentum in developing a sustainable, expert workforce.

Those recommendations include:

  1. Restart the Digital Skills Partnership and enhance the role of Digital Jersey: including Digital Jersey acting as Jersey’s lead on digital transformation, and Digital Jersey acting as the link between employers and educators
  2. Develop the Digital Jersey Academy to broaden impact and focus on workplace skills: with selected amendments to courses, establishing a Digital Skills Fund, and a greater focus on hybrid working and self-employed or micro businesses
  3. Maximise the use of Labour Market Insights to understand industry’s evolving needs: including an annual survey of destination and returners, key sector digital scenario planning and digital audits
  4. Develop a ‘Skills Escalator’ to increase the uptake of digital career choices: raising the profile of digital careers, and highlighting where provision is missing in the short and longer-term, working with UK universities and considering Higher Education digital courses in Jersey
  5. Drive the promotion of, and engagement with, digital skills amongst employers: including working at C-suite level to promote digital awareness, and also targeting students, educators, parents and guardians, and Jersey nationals living abroad
  6. Develop training opportunities for all types of business, embedding essential skills across the workforce in Jersey: targeting non tech-savvy businesses, financial sector businesses, and start-ups and entrepreneurs

Speakers at the event also challenged businesses to better understand their digital skills gap. In a poll undertaken at the event, almost 60% of attendees indicated that their organisation would be ‘very affected’ by a shortage of digital skills.

Tony Moretta, CEO of Digital Jersey, said: “Our new report recognises that we have made significant progress over the past five years. However, it is also very clear that the need for digital skills is growing exponentially.

“We have in Jersey an extremely high-quality infrastructure in place and a robust strategy, but now is the time for action. It is crucial that, as an island, we work together, collaboratively and with focus, to implement those recommendations across all areas of the economy. Certainly from a Digital Jersey perspective, we will not rest until we have that strong, digital skills base in place. Investing in digital education is essential if we are to continue to position ourselves as a thriving, internationally-dynamic jurisdiction.”

In tandem with Digital Jersey’s report, the event saw the launch of the Government of Jersey’s Digital Education Strategy which assesses the current state of technology use in schools and looks forward to a future of innovation, collaboration and increasing opportunity for learners to follow a digital career pathway.

Rory Steel, Head of the Digital Jersey Academy, the island’s centre of excellence for digital education, added: “The key message to come out of this event was the importance of joined-up thinking in adopting a culture of lifelong digital learning – from the curriculum in schools and young people, through to the public sector and business. Creating that culture must come from the top – including from the Government and business leaders – working together to embrace digital skills and position digital education as a core part of our identity as a forward-thinking, innovative island.”

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