further & higher education
local government
voluntary sector

Improving Digital Skills to Increase Inclusion

further & higher education

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:10

Tuesday 19 November 2019

etc. Venues Holborn – Chancery Lane, Central London


This Forum will provide attendees with an opportunity to review the latest updates and initiatives being trailed across central and local government to boost basic digital skills and improve social inclusion. Participants will hear from key stakeholders who will outline the government’s digital skills strategy. Furthermore, best practice case studies will discuss how to deliver innovative targeted training programmes for local groups at risk of exclusion through collaborative partnerships.


This Forum is specifically designed to be a multi-sector event including Local Government, Central Government, and the Voluntary and Higher and Further Education sectors. Typical job titles attending this event will include:

  • Digital Inclusion Officers
  • Directors of Digital Transformation
  • Heads of Digital
  • Heads of Organisational Development
  • Community Engagement and Involvement Officers
  • Financial Inclusion Managers
  • Heads of Delivery and Performance
  • Service Transformation Managers
  • Heads of Public Service Reform
  • Heads of Commissioning
  • Directors of Teaching and Learning
  • Advanced Learning Practitioners
  • Digital Learning Managers
  • Education Technologists
  • Heads of Learning Resources

This Forum is also open to the Private and Health and Social Care Sectors to facilitate discussion and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Isobel Thomas, Digital Social Inclusion Manager, Good Things Foundation
  • Vikki Liogier, Head of Learning Technologies, Education Training Foundation (ETF)
  • Charlotte Collyer, Regional Coordinator, Heart of the South West Digital Skill Partnership
  • John Fisher, Chief Executive, Citizens Online
  • Clive Emmett, Chief Executive, Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service 
  • Louise Aitken, Skills Lead, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
  • Jim Wilkinson, Digital Skills Partnership Co-ordinator, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)
  • Jack Orlik, Programme Manager – Open Jobs, and Author, Digital Frontrunners: Designing Inclusive Skills Policy for the Digital Age, Nesta
  • Paul Finnis, Chief Executive, Learning Foundation
  • Emma Weston OBE, CEO, Digital Unite
  • Sheridan Ash, Founder, Tech She Can and Leader – Women In Technology, PricewaterhouseCoopers
View the agenda and additional speakers

According to The Good Things Foundation’s Economic Impact of Digital Inclusion in the UK report, 6.9 million people will not have the digital skills needed for life and become excluded by 2028, with 1 in 5 adults have no or low digital skills. The Government’s April 2019 Improving Adult Basic Skills: Equality Impact Assessment reported that those with no basic digital skills were likely to be female (61%) and retired (76%), and therefore already at a heightened risk of societal exclusion.

The Government published its UK Digital Strategy in March 2017, a comprehensive plan aiming to create an inclusive, world-leading digital economy. One of the core principles outlined was to ensure all could access ‘digital skills’, making the UK a hub for digital business. This was followed by the formation of the Digital Skills Partnerships, led by the DCMS, in October 2018. These cross-sector partnerships aim to support and spread digital skills, achieved through Local Digital Skills Partnerships and 6 local trailblazers. To support innovation in the sector, several different funding options have been created: the £1 million Digital Skills Innovation Fund to support underrepresented groups, a £1 million Digital Leadership Fund, £400,000 to support older and disabled peoples and a £1 million fund to encourage tackling loneliness through digital solutions. Furthermore, in April 2019 the Government introduced new digital qualifications to improve the provision of digital skills in the National Curriculum from key stage 1 onwards.

With an estimated 90% of jobs in the next 20 years requiring significant digital knowledge and an estimated 11.3 million adults lacking at least one basic digital skill, it is vital that central and local government and other key stakeholders, including the voluntary, education, social care and private sectors, come together to create innovative schemes to improve the adult digital education and support every person to access the internet. Successful programmes could see ongoing digital revolution flourish and fundamentally changed the way people work, travel, socialise and interact, ensuring no citizen, whatever their background is left behind.

Jack Orlik, Programme Manager - Open Jobs, and Author, Digital Frontrunners: Designing Inclusive Skills Policy for the Digital Age, Nesta

Jack Orlik is the programme manager for Open Jobs at the innovation foundation, Nesta. Open Jobs is a novel initiative to use labour market data to help people navigate the job market. Previously, Jack was the Senior Researcher for Nesta’s Digital Frontrunners programme. He has authored two reports for Nesta, ‘Digital Frontrunners: Designing inclusive skills policy for the digital age’ and ‘Delivering Digital Skills: A guide to preparing the workforce for an inclusive digital economy’ and has presented the programme at the ECP in the Netherlands, the European Policy Centre, and the OECD.

Vikki Liogier, Head of Learning Technologies, Education Training Foundation (ETF)

Vikki Liogier is French and has been living in England since 1987. She initially worked as a freelance illustrator and taught graphic design and illustration at South Thames College. In 1993 Vikki acquired her first Apple Mac, Wacom tablet, colour printer, Adobe suite and scanner, as she could foresee the impact such technology would have on the creative industries and education. From then on, she pursued her interest in the exploration and embedding of digital literacy and capability into her life and course delivery. In 2008, as a keen technology early adopter, Vikki decided to refocus her career on change management and digital capability. In 2018 she was recognised as one of the UK EdTech50 – A celebration of the people, products & projects shaping the education and technology sector across the UK.

Clive Emmett, Chief Executive, Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service

Having served within the Metropolitan and Essex Police services as a Detective for 20 years, Clive then moved into the Voluntary Community Sector as County Manager of the Essex Home Office initiative Drugs Intervention Programme. He continued to manage similar substance misuse services moving more into the clinical approaches to addiction treatment in London, West Sussex and then again in Essex. Clive then acquired a position of Head of Operations with a Youth service that worked with troubled youth in the outdoors. Clive is currently Chief Officer of the Council for Voluntary Service Uttlesford leading an infrastructure organisation supporting the local Voluntary Community Sector. He is an appointed Governor of EPUT – NHS Trust, and Director of Uttlesford Health. Clive is passionate about the relevance the Voluntary Sector has within local communities, especially through the Asset Based Community Building approach and how digital innovation will impact positively upon the VCS and the communities he and colleagues across the sector work within.

Charlotte Collyer, Regional Coordinator, Heart of the South West Digital Skill Partnership

Charlotte’s background is Digital, Business & Community and this role brings together her enthusiasm for helping individuals and communities keep pace and be their ‘digital best’ for productivity and good. Previously she has run her own software business in rural Mid Devon, founded a tech startup in Bristol’s Engine Shed, managed FabLab Devon and Devon’s Business and Intellectual Property Centre and more recently been Digital Marketing Manager for an International HealthTech company.  Having seen the digital divide that exists in all companies (sole trader to corporate), within education and the public sector Charlotte is excited to be delivering an inclusive digital skills strategy that supports the Heart of the South  West LEP’s clean growth vision. Her non digital persona loves trail running with her sprocker on Dartmoor, swimming, messing about with horses, snowboarding (badly) and just being there to catch what falls from the lives of her three teens.

Emma Weston OBE, CEO, Digital Unite

Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning, founded by Emma in 1996. In recognition of her pioneering work, Emma was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2012 for services to digital inclusion.

Independent and agile, Digital Unite is the only organisation that focuses exclusively on vocational training and support for Digital Champions. Its Digital Champions Network is a unique and comprehensive train the trainer platform that is being used to build organisational capacity through the training of thousands of Digital Champions from hundreds of member organisations across the UK.

Isobel Thomas, Digital Social Inclusion Manager, Good Things Foundation

Isobel is a Programme Manager within Good Things Foundation’s Digital Social Inclusion Team.  She works with external partners and specialist teams at Good Things Foundation to develop and deliver programmes that ensure people with limited or no digital skills can make the most of the online world.  With over ten years’ experience of working in the voluntary sector, Isobel is passionate about enabling community organisations to support people to improve their own lives.

Louise Aitken, Skills Lead, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Louise Aitken has been working in the skills landscape for over 10 years both with Essex CC and now South East Local Enterprise Partnership where she has recently produced a 5 year skills strategy and oversees skills and employment based European & capital funding. The skills strategy informed a successful bid to be a Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) area, led by new DSP Coordinator Jim Wilkinson.

Jim Wilkinson, Digital Skills Partnership Co-ordinator, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Jim Wilkinson has previously worked in the skills landscape leading on STEM and apprenticeship programmes and having now established the south east DSP working with a range of local and multinational partners to improve digital skills across the local geography.

Sheridan Ash, Founder, Tech She Can and Leader – Women In Technology, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Sheridan is PwC’s Technology Innovation and Women in Technology Leader. She provides strategic leadership and business understanding to technological innovation, to solve important problems for clients and help make a difference in society.

Sheridan campaigns passionately to get more young girls and women into tech careers and founded The Tech She Can Charter, aimed at addressing the pipeline issues where its starts in schools. The initiative has over 130 companies working together to bring about long lasting change.

John Fisher, Chief Executive, Citizens Online

John was Citizens Online employee no.1 in 2000, and with 19 years’ experience working on Digital Inclusion is recognised as an expert in his field. He is responsible for business development, growth and governance. He has been a member of more steering groups and task forces than you can throw a stick at, and has also advised several UK Government ministers. Formerly a Director at Swindon Council and an RAF fast jet pilot. A long‐suffering Forest Green Rovers supporter and learning the saxophone.

Paul Finnis, Chief Executive, Learning Foundation

Paul has worked within the charity sector for 30 years. The last 15 years have seen a focus on education from involvement in setting up the BCSE to leading a British education NGO in Vietnam for 8 years. Paul has seen first-hand the power that the right early intervention in education has to profoundly change lives and is at his happiest supporting schools, teachers and families in seeing just how much learning can be enhanced for every child when technology is also introduced into the mix of tools in the hands of teachers. Paul wants those struggling most at school to turn disadvantage into advantage and to see every child to benefit as soon as possible. To that extent, Learning Foundation recently set up Digital Access for All alongside a fantastic group of partners to ensure that every family of school-aged children has access to the right device and connectivity to engage fully and positively with a world which is increasingly digital by default.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair’s Welcome Address

Jack Orlik, Programme Manager – Open Jobs, and Author, Digital Frontrunners: Designing Inclusive Skills Policy for the Digital Age, Nesta (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Session: Setting the Scene and Having Your Voice Heard

The day will begin with a 10 minute interactive session, led by the Chair, in which delegates will be able to ask questions, raise their key concerns and inform the Chair of what they would like to discuss during the course of the day, informing the debate and directing the conversation.


Morning Keynote: Training Teachers to Deliver Basic Digital Skills Qualifications

  • Reviewing the context of the DfE’s new national standards for essential digital skills (EDS) with a new digital skills offer for adults with no or low skills as part of the new digital entitlement
  • Being commissioned by the DfE to develop and manage the delivery of the CPD programme to help prepare teachers and trainers in England to deliver the EDS entitlement from September 2020
  • Designing the programme based on independent research assessing the skills needs of the workforce that will deliver the new entitlement
  • Exploring how the programme will be rolled out for further education teachers from February 2020, and the intended impact this will have

Vikki Liogier, Head of Learning Technologies, Education Training Foundation (ETF) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Working in Partnership to Implement Technological Solutions to Tackle Digital Exclusion

Learn how Digital Unite has used technology and learning and ‘people power’ to scaffold sustainable, scalable, accessible digital skills interventions in community and workplace settings.


  • Its Digital Champions Network (DCN) – a co-curated and co-commissioned open source digital skills learning and support platform – now has over 200 organisational/ institutional members from the social impact space, from local authorities to social housing provider to unions to charities
  • The members have more than 4,000 Champions between them who have used over 300,000 learning resources as they work in communities and in workplaces to improve the digital skills of others
  • Hear how a variety of organisations and the national One Digital programme have used DCN as a ‘technical backbone’ to support the development and delivery of Digital Champion-led digital inclusion activities

Emma Weston OBE, CEO, Digital Unite (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Achieving Digital Inclusion Through Intergenerational Community Programmes

  • Outlining the process of establishing the Digital Learners Community Project, funded by DCMS’ Digital Inclusion Innovation Fund, which seeks to improve the access of older and disabled people to key digital services
  • Examining how Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service joined together with local partners to create ‘smart homes’ and tackle digital exclusion
  • Analysing the impact of utilising young ‘digital boomers’ to train older people in basic digital skills to improve digital inclusion, encourage intergenerational friendships, promote social inclusion and tackle loneliness
  • Reflecting on key lessons throughout the programmes, including using volunteers and embedding partnership working across all programmes

Clive Emmett, Chief Executive, Uttlesford Council for Voluntary Service (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Improving Digital Learning Through Innovate Digital Skill Programmes

Hear how Heart of the South West Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) implemented their Digital Momentum Program, which aims to bring together key public, private and voluntary sector organisations to provide digital skills training for those most at risk of being excluded.


  • Supported 150 learners by utilising a ‘digital skills escalator’ to trial innovative digital skills education and upskilling programmes across the region
  • Increased access for those with no digital skills to improve their confidence and ability to use key digital services, including accessing key government services now provided virtually
  • £4.5m of workforce development funding released through the ESF Programme: Working with the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA), the delivery will focus on enhancing and reinforcing digital and advanced engineering skills

Charlotte Collyer, Regional Coordinator, Heart of the South West Digital Skill Partnership (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Supporting Disadvantaged Groups Across Society Through Digital Education Programmes

  • Outlining the Future Digital Inclusion programme, which has helped over 1 million people improve digital skills in the past 5 years
  • Sharing the successful approach of the Online Centres Network which uses individually tailored programmes to support individuals to improve their skills and confidence
  • Discussing how ‘soft’ digital skills, such as coping with smart technologies, can be better incorporated into support programmes for the hardest-to-reach groups in society
  • Offering advice for education and training providers seeking to deliver basic digital skills qualifications through the Foundation’s online guides, such as How to be a Digital Champion and Doing Digital Inclusion with the Most Excluded

Isobel Thomas, Digital Social Inclusion Manager, Good Things Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Successfully Building a Robust Digital Skills Partnership

  • Establishing a local Digital Skills Partnership in the South East with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport
  • Harnessing the knowledge and capacity of corporates for digital inclusion at a local level
  • Utilising technology such as Virtual Reality to take learning to new spaces such as prisons and rural areas
  • Understanding the needs of a local area

Louise Aitken, Skills Lead, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) (CONFIRMED)

Jim Wilkinson, Digital Skills Partnership Co-ordinator, South East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Supporting the Development of a Successful Digital Skills Partnership

  • Outlining how Tech She Can has worked with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to develop the digital skills partnership, which is expanding digital skills and creating a local tech ecosystem
  • Highlighting the role of Tech She Can as part of the local DSP, including bringing together five local schools and regional businesses to break down common barriers and encourage girls and young women to pursue careers in technology
  • Examining the process of establishing digital knowledge hubs and active training programmes to improve digital skills for students, entrepreneurs and SMEs
  • Highlighting the success of the partnership so far, and sharing insight into what innovative schemes have best-supported individuals at risk of digital exclusion

Sheridan Ash, Founder, Tech She Can and Leader – Women In Technology, PricewaterhouseCoopers (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Sessions


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Supporting Older Adults to Develop Basic Digital Skills Through a Local Switch Programme

  • Outlining an effective approach to tackling digital skill shortages and exclusion by analysing inclusion schemes already in place to form a clear picture of gaps in provision
  • Highlighting how the Switch programme helps to create a strategy to incorporate organisations capable of promoting digital inclusion through both skill training and other programmes
  • Examining the joint-action plans with local organisations to deliver digital-inclusive services, recruits Digital Champions to access hard to reach groups and promotes digital resilience in the future by funding digital coordination activities
  • Analysing the key lessons learnt throughout the programme on how best to provide support for hard to reach groups and counter digital exclusion

John Fisher, Chief Executive, Citizens Online (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Establishing a Cross-Sector Taskforce to Ensure Digital Access for All

Headline figures and survey data would suggest that everyone is connected and children are natural digital natives but the reality is very different. Digital Access for All (DAFA) believes that 1 million families of school-aged children have either no access or inadequate access to a device and/or connectivity. Digital Access for All recognises the tremendous work being done across the UK nationally and locally on skills development but access needs to be integral to this picture.

Skills minus Access equals Frustration!

This session will consider how to ensure Digital Access, as defined by:

  • Availability (of Device and Connectivity)
  • Affordability
  • Ability
  • Equality and Fairness

Paul Finnis, Chief Executive, Learning Foundation (CONFIRMED)


Interactive Questions and Answers Session


Interactive Session: Reviewing the Day

The day will end with a 10-minute interactive session, led by the Chair, in which delegates will discuss their key takeaways, and raise questions for further discussion following the forum.


Chair’s Summary and Close

*Programme subject to change

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