More and more jobs require workers to have some level of digital skills. Within 20 years it’s expected that such skills will be necessary in 90% of all roles.
Having basic digital skills means being able to find, use and share information online or using a digital platform.
Even where a job doesn’t directly require them, digital skills can still be vital. For example, employee support and HR functions are increasingly delivered online. Having the confidence to use technology can also be crucial for career progression. And outside of work, goods and services are now often only fully accessible digitally.
The Essential Skills Team at Cardiff Council are leading the way in making sure that all staff members can get the digital skills they need.
The Essential Skills programme works in partnership with the recognised trades unions to proactively seek out frontline and manual workers. It then provides a course tailored to each individual.
Everyone who signs up begins with an assessment of their existing skills. This ensures that they get an opportunity to focus on the right areas. The course is then delivered in 3 hour sessions spread over 10 weeks - all within work time.
121 people have completed the Essential Skills course in the last two years. 24 learners have been referred on to a Sustainable Resources Management apprenticeship. A further 14 have signed up for a Team Leadership course.
The Essential Skills team – led by Anne-Maria Newbury with Shireen Ahmed – make great efforts to make the course available to everyone. The team arrange drop-in sessions in various Council workplaces to reach people where they work. They also:
· Attend team briefings before shifts start across a range of Council departments;
· Stay in regular contact with managers to identify skills gaps;
· Use all available internal communications routes.
Staff are also recruited by word of mouth – many course graduates recommend the experience to their colleagues.
The Essential Skills programme is a partnership between Cardiff Council, Wales TUC, GMB, Unite and Unison, and Cardiff and Vale College. It is funded by the Wales Union Learning Fund (WULF).
The success of Cardiff Council's digital skills training scheme has been widely recognised. Last year the Essential Skills Team won the Skills at Work Award at the Learning and Work Institute’s Inspire awards.
Many of the challenges created by the shift towards digital workplaces are common across sectors and locations. If you want to discuss how you can follow the example set by Cardiff Council’s Essential Skills Team then contact the Wales TUC at 029 2034 7010.