Last updated: 14.10.14

UK teens call for improved access to digital skills

Almost two-thirds of UK teenagers feel they need better access to training for digital skills than the current curriculum can provide.

This is according to a new study by Accenture, which found that out of 5,000 Britons aged 12 and older, 65 per cent of 12 to 17-year-olds were of the opinion that school education is not doing enough to develop youngsters' skills in the digital sphere.

The shortfall may well drive many teenagers to up-skill elsewhere, as the survey also found that most individuals from this age group reckon experience with emerging technologies will be invaluable when they enter the jobs market.

Some three-quarters (75 per cent) of 12 to 17-year-olds told Accenture they believe having digital skills at their disposal will present them with more job opportunities in the future, while half went so far as to say it would help them get their "dream job".

Finally, two-thirds (67 per cent) also recognised that when they join the workforce, they will be competing for positions that are not yet established in the mainstream - roles like data scientist, for instance.

Nick Millman, managing director of Accenture Digital, commented: "It's good news that young people feel optimistic about the opportunities digital offers, but the fact that they don't feel they are being fully equipped is worrying. After all, they are the next generation of our workforce and the future of British business is in their hands."

He went on to add that while there have been recent positive changes in the curriculum, such as the introduction of classes on coding, these might not be enough to give youngsters the skills they need to compete in a digital world.

Accenture also asked other members of the public to share their opinions on digital skills. More than half (51 per cent) said these competencies would make them more productive, while a similar figure (48 per cent) felt digital skills promised to make the world of work more creative.