An All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) is established when there is a need for the development of policy in key areas affecting the future of the UK.  It creates a platform for organisations to put forward their ideas to parliamentarians to help shape the political discussion on this policy area and propose solutions. The APPG brings together a range of organisations to work with parliamentarians to develop policy. The need for an APPG for Digital Skills is in line with the government’s Digital Strategy. It highlights that for the UK “to be a world-leading digital economy that works for everyone, it is crucial that everyone has the digital skills they need to fully participate in society.” At the same time, the UK is facing a major digital skills deficit at all levels.

The APPG for Digital Skills will be chaired by Julie Elliott, MP with many other parliamentarians also being involved, both directly and indirectly.

Each meeting of the APPG addresses an aspect of the imperative for developing digital capability. During the year MPs will be offered a toolkit that supports their engagement with this agenda and at the end of the year, a report describing key findings along with recommendations for action will be published.

The Education Technology Alliance (TheETA) is one of four principal sponsors of the APPG Digital Skills.

25 January 2020 – Digital Skills and Formal Education.

David Jaffa, Jaffa Foundation set the context for a bright future, together with an analysis of the economic value of workplace skills. Read more about it here.

Tim Scratcherd, TheETA operations director, defined digital skills, described their importance and embedded them in the idea of digital competence, which is the ability to apply digital skills to solve real world problems.

Alice Cleary, Chief Marketing Officer, Schuh Limited, described how a company approaches one of its key audiences, and stressed the importance of digital skills for customers and employees. You can see her slide deck here.

Karine George, primary school headteacher and education consultant, shared experience of the reality of digital skills development in schools.

Dawn Hallybone, 2Simple Ltd, shared the experiences of a leading supplier of Education Technologies to schools.

Common themes emerged strongly; the importance of digital skills for individuals in society, the nature of the school curriculum, and the huge challenges schools face in supporting children to develop digital competence.

11 June 2020 – The Impact of Covid 19 on organisations and the implications for digital skills.

Speakers were

  • Michaela Neild, External Affairs Manager, Google
  • Ken Gaines, Technical Adviser, City & Guilds
  • Helen Burrows, Content and Services Policy Director, BT
  • Tim Scratcherd, Operations Director, The Education Technology Alliance
  • Helen Milner, Chief Executive, The Good Things Foundation

Again, common themes emerged strongly; life will never go back to the way it was, the absolute imperative for universal internet access, the need for digital skills development for all.