New search from Virgin Media O2 and economic modeling of Cyber It found that a lack of digital skills is costing the economy £12.8 billion in gross value added (GVA) with 5.4 million British workers unable to participate online.
These results prompted the launch of “Contact More” A national program to help provide digitally excluded community residents with the skills, confidence, and motivation to use everyday technology and internet connectivity. The program will see company volunteers use five paid volunteer days a year to deliver much-needed digital skills training, such as through reception centers run by local authorities, across the UK. Anyone on the Virgin Media O2 Business team of more than 2,000 employees can volunteer to participate and become a digital skills coach, and the company will work with its network of public sector partners to pair volunteers with residents who need it most.
After a successful pilot in Greater Manchester, Virgin Media O2 Business is now working with its network of public sector clients to help it deliver Connect More at a community level and reach housing union residents most at risk of digital exclusion. The company is committed to providing resources that directly support public services on the ground – to address digital exclusion at the national level through a local first approach – and is developing customized delivery plans with each local authority willing to participate.
Joe Bertram, Managing Director of Virgin Media O2 Business commented:
“At Virgin Media O2 Business, we have a strong network of public sector clients and a team of thousands of our employees who are willing and able to make a difference. So, with Connect More, we’re joining the dots: putting time and resources behind an initiative that mobilizes our employees to deliver free digital skills training and make a difference. A real impact on everyday life and societies. We are now calling on the public sector to help us achieve this: by connecting us with those who most need support.”
Digital exclusion is a business problem
Virgin Media O2’s research has highlighted the seriousness of the UK’s digital exclusion situation. Nearly a third (31%) believe they have been passed over for a promotion or a salary increase due to a lack of digital skills. A quarter of people in the lowest-income wage bracket (below £12,570) feel their skills will not be enough to secure them a similar paid role if they become redundant, while a fifth (21%) say they need digital skills so they can get a job With a higher salary.
Digital exclusion is not just a social quality of life problem affecting older adults. The other side of the problem is the limited impact of digital exclusion on the health of small and medium businesses that make up a large proportion of the UK economy. Startups and Expansion Compete with big companies Digital skills are in a highly competitive market, and without these skills they cannot grow and hire more people.
The UK has deficiencies in digital skills, but it is not evenly distributed across regions.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, He said: “If Greater Manchester is truly going to become a world-leading digital city district, we must make a huge commitment to fixing the digital divide, and the consequences of not doing so will be dire – with our people at risk of further social isolation, lack of equal opportunity and inability to access support. We We ensure that everyone in Greater Manchester, regardless of their age, location or status, can take advantage of digital opportunities.
“Now is the time when Greater Manchester can lead the way in realizing the ambition we must all be striving for nationwide. Collaboration is an integral part of what we do and tackling digital exclusion through Virgin Media O2 Business Connect More supports our goal that We become recognized as a world-leading digital city in a way that puts our people first.”