Last updated: 23.05.13

Young people 'must not miss out on online learning'

The online skills of young people in Britain must not be overlooked in the government's drive to create a digitally-skilled nation.

Currently, the charity Go On UK is working to help the 15 per cent of adults across the country who have never had access to the internet, but according to founder and chairman of the ANS Group Scott Fletcher, this training is just as crucial to the career development of the younger generation.

He claimed it is easy to assume that pupils taught IT are adept when it comes to digital technology, but this is usually not the case.

"ICT education in our schools is based around teaching children to be comfortable with using software, whereas resource needs to be focussed [on] instilling a basic understanding of computer literacy and coding," the expert added.

It is becoming increasingly common that young people are leaving school without the skills they require to kickstart their careers in the tech industry, Mr Fletcher said.

However, this could improve with the help of Go On UK, which has received £15 million of financial support from the Big Lottery Fund. What's more, prime minister David Cameron has called on companies around the UK to back the initiative.

A number of organisations are already working on schemes and they will be able to apply for funding this autumn, which will be dedicated to providing one-to-one training.

Chief executive officer of Go On UK Graham Walker recently stated he supports all campaigns that promote increased online awareness, while he agreed with Mr Fletcher that younger people are often disregarded when funding is handed out.

He explained: "The internet has democratised business opportunities and it is our responsibility to see that the UK's youngsters don't get left behind."

There are lots of ways companies can use the internet to train their employees, with e-learning in particular a great method for boosting skills. These resources can be accessed in workers' spare time so they do not interfere with their daily schedule.