Digital Skills Group Meeting

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Date(s) - 24/06/2015
14:30 - 16:30



The DPA Digital Skills Group will meet on Wednesday 24th June, in Westminster, 14.30-16.30 to discuss its priorities and plans in the light of developments and announcements since the election.

At its last meeting, the Group agreed that it had no wish to duplicate the work of others and should therefore postpone activity until the House of Lords enquiry had reported.  It was then decided that would make sense to further postpone activity until after the election.

The House of Lords report on Digital Skills and a response from Ed Vaizey on the ministerial responsibilities for action were published in February.

Immediately after the election the Prime Minister repeated a pledge for 3 million new apprenticeships over the new few years, almost all of which will need include digital components. Education and training are outside the remit of the European Union but the Commission’s Digital Single Market strategy includes a section on the need for action on skills. The DPA Digital Single Market group has therefore included a section in its draft response as follows:


Digital Skills

The Commission communication recognises the importance of digital skills to future prosperity and social health with a need to address social-inclusion skills as well as the supply of relevant technical, professional, entrepreneurial and R&D skills. We advocate five over-riding priorities for action at EU level, in order to develop the scale and capabilities of the workforce that will be needed to underpin a successful Digital Single Market.

  • Provide a strategic framework within which Member States can take timely and effective action to ensure that skills development and resource planning better handle the scale, pace and uncertain direction of change for digital skills
  • Find better ways of relating publicly funded and accredited qualifications and courses to current and emerging skills needs and employers’ recruitment and training plans – without overloading those employers who do seek to plan ahead with “consultations” which ask questions they cannot answer.
  • Better support for SMEs who take on trainees/apprentices, often to meet hybrid (i.e. cross disciplinary, including both digital and traditional skills), needs but are too small to have in-house expertise in training or workplace supervision.
  • Support the provision of attractive and compelling careers advice and guidance that relates to the skills and employment opportunities in current and prospective demand, locally, nationally and internationally.
  • Build on the work done to date in looking at the organisation of local, socially inclusive access to world-class education and training courses, materials and qualifications, (e.g. community learning centres) and identify those obstacles which EU action could help remove.


That submission is expected to trigger an invitation to organise recommendations in line with those priorities.

The group also needs to review UK progress, plans and market developments since the House of Lords report so as to brief our existing parliamentary members and the new intake of MPs. We have made outline plans for a briefing session on 9th July, 14.00 – 16.00 in Westminster.

The draft agenda for the planning meeting on 24th June is:

14.30 Chairman’s introduction and meeting objectives.

14.40 Introductions: round the table – organisation, objectives and potential contribution: 2 minutes maximum per participant.

15.00 Resume of The House of Lords Report, questions arising and follow up plans (including timing of Government response and debate).

15.15 Identification of possible topics for the group to address and/or produce political briefing material e.g.

  • Summary of main current initiatives and players for politicians and the time poor.
  • Delivering Digital in the context of the wider demand for cross-cutting skills, where everything has a Digital Component.
  • The issues that need to be addressed in scaling up to 3 million new apprenticeships – each with a digital component.
  • How do we ensure that local delivery meets local needs – i.e. avoiding geographic mismatches?
  • The changing role(s) of Universities: including global MOOCS and corporate virtual universities.
  • The consequences of the corporate outsourcing of career development including training.
  • The challenge of providing careers advice and guidance for a changing world.
  • Should we include schools and social inclusion programmes or are these well covered by others?

16.00 Identification of those willing to organise and deliver briefing material (in time for event on 9th July) and/or follow up activity on which topics.

16.20 Recap on agreed plans and date/venue for next main planning meeting (any agreed sub-group meetings to be taken off-line).

16.25 Guillotine (we have to be out of the room by 16.30).

The overall strategy is to identify success that can be built on, rather than bleat about problems – although we should take the opportunity to identify some of the latter for action, including who should do what, for action later.

Subject to the views and priorities of participants, the aim is to then provide a neutral umbrella for follow up activities that help publicise progress areas and recruit support for those working to exploit opportunities and address problems. The group has no wish to duplicate that already being done by others and will confine its activities to areas not already well addressed elsewhere.

A key success measure is, therefore, that the group has to subsequently organise very little itself.

Please let me know ( if you or a colleague would like to attend the planning meeting on 24th June or otherwise input to the group. A note on the points and/or other contribution you would like to make would be most helpful.  Please also let me have suggestions as to who else to invite and their potential contribution.

Note that places on the 9th July, other than for agreed speakers, may need to be rationed to those wishing to make public statements of support for significant action programmes.

This meeting is for DPA members, registered observers and their nominated guests only.  If you are interested in becoming a member we would welcome your attendance as a taster, but before any further participation, you would then need to join us.  More details are available at:

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