In its response to the taskforce’s call for evidence, the union said that digital skills need a unified sense of mission – not more initiatives.
The union warned that a plethora of structures and initiatives risks dissipating the efforts of those who design and run them. It called for existing structures to be rationalised so that there is a greater capacity to respond to problems.
Ultimately, Prospect would like to see a public organisation, and the government, take a strong hand in extending digital skills.
Prospect’s submission calls on the taskforce to:
- get mechanisms for financing and delivering broad digital skills for all on the public agenda
- develop a national consensus on how digital skills might be harnessed to support the sustainable growth of the UK economy
- take steps to ensure that the digital divide which already exists between people and between groups does not become an unbridgeable chasm
- produce a useable list of the generic skills required for people to become digital natives, not least in the context of restructuring and career change
- identify the public interest in technological training to deliver the networks which underpin concepts like 'smart cities' and 'the wearable web'
- consider how to reassume national, strategic responsibility for training and development so that the UK is not held back by an inability to take a strategic approach to skills
- consider restoring strategic, core funding to the sector skills councils
- encourage organisations to take the initiative in tackling the lack of women in IT.
The Digital Skills Taskforce was set up in 2013 to produce ideas and practical solutions for combating persistent shortages in digital skills. It is one of three taskforces whose output will contribute to rewriting the 2009 Digital Britain report.