UK digital strategy unveiled

Education features heavily in the digital strategy, from examining how computing is taught in schools to developing digital apprenticeships

Education forms a key part of the government’s new UK digital strategy, unveiled shortly before his resignation by the former technology minister, Chris Philp.

“This government will ensure that UK technology businesses have access to the skills and funding they need to innovate, develop and grow,” wrote Philp, in the ministerial forward to the strategy.

“We will work with schools, universities, further education providers, and businesses to deliver the digital skills that the real economy actually needs – including apprenticeships and skills training throughout people’s careers – in a framework that is understandable and recognisable.”

The cross-government digital strategy is a comprehensive list of the government’s ambitions for digital policy, mixing new announcements with previously stated aspirations and initiatives.

In other news: State school population predicted to fall by a million

While much of the document focuses on finance and the broader ‘levelling up’ agenda, education features heavily, with promises and proposals including:

  • Ensuring that every school in England is equipped with the knowledge to teach computing through the National Centre for Computing Education
  • Expanding education routes through three digital-specific T-levels and, more broadly, delivering at least 15,000 industry placements by 2024/2025
  • Promoting a DCMS-funded pilot to test effective ways of teaching foundational data skills in universities
  • Updating England’s National Careers Service website to become a single source of government-assured careers information
  • Examining how computing is taught in English schools through Ofsted, to report in 2023
  • Aiming to reach 30,000 students through the Cyber Explorers programme
  • Creating a further 2,000 scholarships in AI and data science in England
  • Investing £117 million to create 1,000 new AI PhDs through centres for doctoral training
  • Investing £12m in the CyberFirst programme to inspire young people to pursue careers in cyber security
  • Developing digital apprenticeships at levels three-seven in England, providing work-based training in technical occupations, including cyber security and data science
  • Providing free training for adults in England with low digital skills on the essential digital skills qualifications via the digital entitlement and, from August 2023, on new digital functional skills
  • Supporting universal credit claimants in developing their digital skills through the claimant commitment
  • Launching the Digital Skills Council to establish and consolidate the digital skills needed for the workforce of the future
  • Investing in institutes of technology and, through the Digital Skills Council, working with the sector to build industry connections and investment in them
  • Increasing UK Research and Innovation expenditure from £6.1 billion in 2020 to £8.9 bn by 2024
  • Supporting the commercialisation of university-based research by publishing a suggested best-practice blueprint by March 2023
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