Vodafone UK CEO says digital literacy is “essential to the life chances of everyone in the UK”
Vodafone has called on the government and business sector to ensure that everyone in the country is digitally literate.
According to a report from Vodafone and WPI Strategy – No One Left Behind: The UK’s Digital Divide in 2021 – there is a ‘digital divide’, defined as the line between people with access to technology and the internet, and those without.
This is not confined to older people or areas with poor internet connections, but also hits financially and socially disadvantaged people.
The problem has been noticeable during the pandemic, when the internet has been essential for everyday tasks.
The report, which polled 1,004 adults, found that 23 per cent from the lowest household incomes were not confident using a search engine to access government services or apply for a new passport.
Around 63 per cent of people seeking employment said they would benefit from digital skills training, compared to 36 per cent of the general population.
Meanwhile, over a quarter of respondents described their digital skills as basic.
Many were not confident using more advanced software functions such as Excel formulas or adding graphics to documents.
Separately, almost a third of people have had to share a device during the past year. The report calls on the government to create a task force to tackle the issue, suggesting that one outcome might be a voucher scheme.
“Digital literacy is essential to the life chances of everyone in the UK,” said Vodafone UK CEO Ahmed Essam.
“Access to technology, connectivity and the digital skills needed for many of today’s jobs is critical. At Vodafone, we have a commitment to connect one million people by the end of 2022.”