On Tuesday 27 April, One Digital held its event “Delivering sustainable digital skills support” at Friends House in London. This marked my fifth week as Programme Director for One Digital and my first ‘public appearance’, where I was delighted to introduce the event.
In recent years I have been struck by the number of people who are not yet online (4.8 million UK adults) and the fact that 1 in 5 UK adults don’t have all the basic skills they need to benefit from digital services or stay safe online. We know these skills are important for helping people save money, find jobs, reduce isolation and access vital services. In my previous role at Prostate Cancer UK I was excited to see the difference that innovative digital services could make to healthcare. But I also saw that only the men who had the skills to access the services were able to benefit.
I wanted to join One Digital as I was impressed by the commitment of its partners to changing this and ensuring that people gain more digital skills through the work of Digital Champions. The partners’ One Digital projects focus on many key communities and organisations, in order to reach those who will be hardest hit by a lack of digital skills.
I was also excited by another key principle of One Digital - that every project will be sharing best practice through the Community of Practice. I have long championed the need for good quality evaluation to be built into a programme from the beginning, so it can be used to make improvements through the life of a project and not just assess the impact at the end. What’s great is that the Community of Practice will not only benefit One Digital partners, but will be opened up to other organisations as well.
This principle was put into practice at our event, where workshop leaders supported delegates to learn about different approaches to improve digital skills. It was great to see such a range of delegates join us to hear from our speakers and contribute to our workshops and panel discussion.
I am looking forward to supporting the One Digital partners to deliver their excellent Digital Champions projects, as well as build our growing Community of Practice. I hope you will join us for future events and share what you have learnt too. By working together, we can help to ensure that everyone can benefit from our digital society.