It’s 2017, so you might imagine that in the United Kingdom, all citizens have access to technology. Sadly, that’s not the case, but the government is working to change that with a five-year plan.
The UK government has a little-known program with big impact called Digital Strategy. The program sets the vision and policy actions for the country’s digital economy for the next five years.
The mission behind the strategy aims to ensure everyone in the UK can develop the skills they need to thrive in a digital world.
“We want everyone to have the skills and confidence they need to benefit from digital technology as we seek to make the most of the opportunities ahead and build a stronger, fairer Britain,” said Karen Bradley, secretary of state for culture, media and sport. “Improving digital skills is at the heart of the government's recent Digital Strategy, including this fantastic commitment by the HP Foundation to bring its free online learning platform to the UK. This will be vital in helping thousands of disadvantaged groups improve their business, IT and digital skills.”
As part of the strategy, the government has committed to provide access to a variety of free training opportunities for children and adults who lack relevant skills by working with the private sector through the Digital Skills Partnership.
Here is what HP’s support will entail.
Those learning digital skills will have a choice of 27 free online courses in seven languages to build key business competencies with HP LIFE. It will be offered to disadvantaged groups in the UK to help them improve their business, IT and digital skills with the aim of reaching 6,000 new UK users over the next five years.
Users will include asylum seekers, refugees and underprivileged young people.
“The UK government’s new Digital Strategy will help businesses and charities make greater strides towards narrowing the skills gap and gaining a competitive advantage,” said George Brasher, HP’s Managing Director of the UK and Ireland. “We believe we have a responsibility to partner with government, teachers, parents, pupils, and other industry leaders to enhance digital learning and close the knowledge gap. We are proud to support the new Strategy which will help build on the UK’s digital foundations and make it one of the most dynamic and supportive places to develop and grow a digital business.”
This initiative further strengthens HP LIFE’s presence in the UK where the team is already working with new partner organizations to create opportunity through technology-related learning experiences.
In addition, HP has pledged to introduce its HP Graphics Education Program in the UK. This will empower the next generation of digital printing graduates with the skills they need to work in the rapidly changing digital printing space. HP will share content and knowledge with selected schools, institutions and partners and open HP’s demo and training centers to the most talented students through dedicated Summer Camps.
Finally, HP will expand its Learning Studios initiative to more schools across the country, equipping schools with the latest education technologies with appropriate support to teachers and help improve IT skills, expose students to innovative skills and concepts such as design thinking, three-dimensional design, and social entrepreneurship.
The program, and HP's support, is a huge step forward for innovation, and access to digital learning for disadvantaged adults and children in the UK.