DIGITAL SKILLS PARTNERSHIP

DIGITAL SKILLS PARTNERSHIP

In 2019 the Cheshire and Warrington Local Digital Skills Partnership launched.

What is the Digital Skills Partnership?

The Digital Skills Partnership is a group of employers and other organisation who recognise the growing importance of digital skills to all the businesses and residents of Cheshire and Warrington. The Partnership will work together with businesses and training providers to develop the skills of the current and future workforces so businesses can fully utilise new digital technologies.

What is it for?

The Digital Skills Partnership will ensure that we focus on digital skills as we deliver the two priorities of our skills and education action plan:

  • Businesses being at the heart of inspiring and informing young people about new technologies and career opportunities so they make informed decisions about the training and education that they choose; and
  • Businesses working together with training providers to improve the quality of training available to employees and individual learners who want to acquire the digital skills they need for work or to function in an increasingly digital age.

How does it help me?

The Digital Skills Partnership will work together with businesses and training providers to develop the skills of the current and future workforces to enable them to take full advantage of new digital technologies. It will also help residents and employees across Cheshire and Warrington to acquire the digital skills they need to live in an increasingly digital economy and move into work or to progress in work.

Covid-19: Essential Digital Skills Needed to Live and Work Remotely

The Cheshire and Warrington Digital Skills Partnership is raising awareness of some of the digital tools and online support materials that may help in the short term during these business-critical times. Access the Covid-19 People and Remote Working page for information on online resources and training  that are freely available to help local residents including business leaders, people working on site or from home and teachers and trainers.

This initial guidance is focused on developing the essential digital skills needed to live and work remotely, including to develop a website and sell online, stay safe and access public services.

If you identify other training needs that might have a cost associated with them then if you are a business based in Cheshire and Warrington then funding for up to 40% of the cost of the training may be available to you, smaller businesses may be eligible for 100% funding. More details can be found at http://candwgrowthhub.co.uk/accelerate/ or contact mark.shepherd@871candwep.co.uk or richard.corley@871candwep.co.uk to find out more.

The Pledge team have collated a selection of resources to help young people explore their career interests and personal development. further details can be found here – Pledge Resources.

Unemployed? An opportunity to develop new skills at no cost to you

The Cheshire and Warrington LEP working with local partners including Job Centre Plus have partnered with Coursera to provide free, online learning resources to up to 10,000 users across Cheshire and Warrington. There are more than 4,100 courses available to unemployed people living in Cheshire and Warrington.

This is in addition to the training and support that is available from our local training providers.

The Coursera courses are being provided free for unemployed residents or people not in work to sign up to until the 31st October 2020, and must be completed by the end of December 2020.

Click here to find out more

Launch of Digital Boost – 09/06/2020

Digital Boost has been created to provide free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers.

The platform hosts a community of digital experts, who will offer one-to-one digital support to small businesses and charities free of charge to help them improve their digital capability to grow and prosper. Digitalboost.org.uk is on a mission to help small businesses and charities get the essential digital skills they need and by extension more customers and revenue streams through online channels.

Digital Boost is accepting support requests from small businesses and charitable organisations needing help and applications for volunteer requests at https://www.digitalboost.org.uk/

Getting Students Online

13% of secondary school students in Cheshire and Warrington don’t have access to a computer or broadband connectivity. This means more than 1 in 10 are unable to participate in virtual schooling. Research indicates that our young people will be impacted more greatly than many other groups and by the time many return to school in September may have lost the equivalent of a full years academic progress.

In response the LEP has launched #GettingStudentsOnline, a campaign asking businesses in Cheshire and Warrington to help get as many of our students as possible online quickly, so they can access online schooling, summer-camps and all-class activities. The LEP, along with local employers Storengy, Engie and AO, have kick-started the campaign by donating 138 kit bundles to schools across Cheshire and Warrington. The bundles comprise an entry level educational device and 3 months broadband access and cost £250.

For information  on how to donate please click here.

BT Offering 6 Months Free Internet Access to Disadvantaged Children

BT has been working on with Department of Education (DfE), bringing BT Wi-fi access to children and families with no internet access at home via our c5.4 million Wi-fi hotspots to help with online learning.

This will be an option of “first resort” for those who are most in need. The Wi-fi access vouchers will give users unlimited data, on up to three devices at a time for 6 months. The vouchers will allow access with comprehensive content filtering to ensure child safety, and will point to online resources from BT’s own Skills for Tomorrow and Barefoot learning programmes as well as BBC Bitesize and others.

Distribution is being handled directly by the DfE, which will issue families with the necessary voucher usernames and passwords. Local Education Authorities and Academy Trusts in England will be invited to request vouchers, working with their schools to identify those children who are most in need – LEAs and Academy Trust wanting to know more should contact COVID.TECHNOLOGY@education.gov.uk.

DevicesDotNow Campaign

Supported by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the DevicesDotNow campaign are targeting vulnerable people aged 18 plus in the 1.9 million households who don’t have access to the internet and are digitally excluded as we face a socially distanced world gripped by COVID-19.

The DevicesDotNow campaign is asking businesses to donate tablets, smartphones and laptops, as well as connectivity in the form of sims, dongles and mobile hotspots. If you are a business who would like to donate equipment or make a donation please click here. The DevicesDotNow campaign is working through the Online Centres Network supported by the Good Things Foundation to identify need and distribute equipment. BT has already donated 1,000 devices to this campaign and these are now being distributed through the Online Centres Network. Details of the Good Things Foundation Online Centres can be found at link.

If you do not have an Online Centre near you and want to register your community group for access to equipment please use the following link.

£5 Million Investment in Equipment to Support Digital Skills Adoption (Local Growth Fund Projects)

The LEP has invested £4.6 million in specialist equipment to support the development of digital and Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills. These projects are still at the early stages of development but you might want to access them in order to help you develop your skills, further details can be found here.

Project descriptions including the technologies each project has invested in and the skills being developed can be found here.

DCMS’ Digital Skills Partnership Newsletter

DCMS’ Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) is pleased to share the fifth edition of their newsletter. This edition shares This month’s edition features a spotlight section on digital inclusion, highlighting the incredible efforts of some of our partners as they work at pace to support vulnerable groups during this uncertain time. You can sign up to the newsletter here.

DCMS are keen to collaborate on future newsletters and welcome you to share your thoughts, experiences and concerns. In particular, they are interested in profiling regional case studies highlighting how technology and digital tools are empowering and supporting communities and businesses during these challenging times. Please get in touch with Poulomi at poulomi.solanki@culture.gov.uk.

Previous Editions

DCMS’ Digital Skills Partnership Digital Newsletter – Fourth edition – 03/04/2020
DCMS’ Digital Skills Partnership Digital Newsletter – Third edition – 05/11/2020

For further information about the Digital Skills Partnership please email digitalskillspartnership@871candwep.co.uk