It’s time to act on digital exclusion

by Dec 4, 2020Connecting our communities, Youth engagement

Last month I was invited to speak at the Apprenticeship Diversity & Social Mobility Forum, which aims to bring together leading figures in diversity and inclusion, and experts on social mobility. The series of three annual events was organised by one of our newest partners, the BAME Apprenticeships Alliance, a community of organisations who support diversity in the workplace through policy and advocacy.  

The theme of the 2-day forum was ‘Building a grass roots approach from the top’. We highlighted the role for employers in recognising the impact digital poverty on young people when it comes to finding learning and work opportunities, as well as performing their job in the current Covid-19 crisis.  

Awareness and solutions 

Digital poverty has always existed but has been brought to light by the pandemic. During the first lockdown 1.9 million households reported they had no access to the Internet. 

Technology & Internet is no longer a luxury but essential to both education and employment. As working from home and virtual schooling took off, those that often need the support most were left behind. It’s great that opportunities to learn remotely are being created but those who need it most often can’t access them and we still have a long way to go. 

The City & Guilds Foundation is looking at ways we can become more inclusive and make our initiatives and programmes accessible to everyone, regardless of how they access them. For example, our Bursary programme, which was created to help individuals who have the drive and passion to study or change career but can’t afford it. By improving our outreach, shortlist and communication with applicants we can make funding and support accessible to those who need it most.

Useful links

1.9 million households with no access to the Internet and tens of millions more reliant on pay-as-you-go services to make phone calls or access healthcare, education and benefits online. Read more about the growing digital divide in The Guardian.

A 2019 report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that, although declining, the number of “Internet non-users” is still large in the UK. In 2018, there were 5.3 million Internet non-users in the UK: 10% of the adult population. Read more. Read more about Covid-19 and the UK digital divide in The Lancet   

According to the poll of 1,416 students, run for the Office for Students (OfS):

  • 71% reported a lack of access to a quiet study space, with 22% ‘severely’ impacted 
  • 56% said they lacked access to appropriate online course materials, with 9% ‘severely’ impacted 
  • 18% were impacted by a lack of access to a computer, laptop or tablet, with 4% ‘severely’ impacted. 

The BAME Apprenticeship Alliance have just published a report on what steps government can take to mitigate digital poverty in the UK.

We look forward to supporting the upcoming Spring Forum. Keep an eye out on the Apprenticeship Diversity & Social Mobility Forum to join us!

Download the Digital Poverty report

Download the report now!

Want to be kept up to date?

Sign up to City & Guilds Foundation email alerts and newsletter

Previous posts

City & Guilds launches Specific Learning Difficulties tool for trainers

This guest post is by Jordan Stevenson, the Diversity and Inclusion Product Lead at City & Guilds City & Guilds, in partnership with the Education Training Foundation: SEND excellence gateway, are launching a series of tools to support inclusive learning. This...

Foundation Autumn Newsletter 2022: Our Collective Impact

In our latest newsletter we launch our 2022 Impact Report and also highlight the impact of our work and programmes have had in the last quarter.

Invitation to take part: Improving Diversity in Craft Businesses with Cockpit

Calling all craft businesses. The craft world has a diversity problem – let’s change that. Craft businesses are invited to get involved in a new project to help improve diversity in the craft workforce. Our vision is a future industry where anyone, from any...

City & Guilds Foundation & The WOW Show release new wellbeing resources for students

With the new school year in full swing and student wellbeing a priority, the City & Guilds Foundation have teamed up with The WOW Show and partners Votes for Schools to launch an exciting new film and classroom resources to help young people build self-confidence....

City & Guilds Foundation and Gower College Swansea launch innovative £100k project to support at risk young people into secure employment

The City & Guilds Foundation and Gower College Swansea have entered into a new strategic partnership to support learners at risk of dropping out of education, overcome barriers and find positive ways to gain skills and enduring work. The funding will put up to 200...

Creating a diverse and inclusive online experience for our community

To support our diverse range of stakeholders who visit our websites, the City & Guilds Foundation now provides enhanced accessibility support online to create a barrier-free user experience. We pride ourselves by going the extra mile to always improve...

How can you reduce your carbon footprint at work?

This guest post is by Enas Rauf who was an intern in the Foundation team during July and August 2022. A carbon footprint is the measure of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of economic or human activity. With small changes, we can get big...

Outstanding workplace training programmes recognised in HRH The Princess Royal’s training awards

HRH The Princess Royal, President of City & Guilds, awards employers with outstanding training and skills development programmes which have been proven to have significant positive impact on their business or their staff. More apprenticeship programmes have been...

Widening participation in heritage crafts: training bursary for Black and ethnically diverse makers

The City & Guilds Foundation sponsors the Heritage Crafts training bursary targeted at Black and ethnically diverse makers, which is an under-represented group in heritage crafts. This guest post is by Daniel Carpenter of Heritage Crafts. For more information, see...

Applications for the London Creative Network (LCN) Programme at Cockpit open until 08 August 2022

The London Creative Network (LCN) Programme at Cockpit is a professional development programme designed to provide free creative business support to craftspeople who have talent and aspiration to succeed. They are now inviting applications to join them from September...

Podcast episodes

Share This