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Skills review focuses on digital future

19 September 2012

A review focusing on the skills and educational needs of the Jersey workforce, both current and future, has been commissioned by Skills Jersey and Digital Jersey.

It aims to help both organisations formulate strategies for diversifying the local economy and generating jobs. The report will now be circulated for comment before a final version is presented.

Key findings from the interim report include:

  • only 16% of digital professionals are female
  • more than 50% of digital professionals are educated to degree level
  • as in the United Kingdom, IT qualifications are failing to produce enough young people with the skills for the roles that will be created by the digital industry
  • Jersey, like most developed countries, sees its IT qualifications lagging behind the needs of the digital industry
  • there are 28,000 regular users of IT in the workplace. Evidence suggests that better use of IT would help raise productivity levels to those seen elsewhere
  • each year 25 students start university courses in ICT or computing - less than half of the current needs of the digital industry

Digital economy

The chairman of Jersey’s Skills Board, Richard Plaster, said this was a starting point for the work of both Digital Jersey and Skills Jersey "If Jersey is going to create a digitally enabled economy, it is clear that we will need a skilled, experienced and motivated workforce, supported by a population which is comfortable getting the most out of digital tools both at work and at home.

"This interim report reviews not only the skills held by traditional IT specialists, but also by people from new industries. It is also about the Island embracing the digital age, with everybody keen and able to use digital tools in everyday life and at work.

"The report identifies a number of areas which will require attention, from the qualifications available for young people to introducing more people into the industry. Of particular note are the opportunities to improve the productivity of the Island’s workforce by developing their IT skills. Coupled to this has to be a clear understanding from business leaders of how IT can improve their businesses and help them into new and exciting markets.”

First step

The newly appointed chairman of Digital Jersey Limited, Paul Masterton, commented "This report is a welcome first step towards understanding the challenges we will face as a newly formed industry body.

"The role of Digital Jersey is to develop and promote Jersey as a location of choice for digital business, while also diversifying the local economy and generating jobs. So it is vital that we understand our starting point. 

"Working alongside government and industry, we will now work to improve the environment for digital business in Jersey, including skills development, technical innovation and research.

We will also capitalise on Jersey’s existing advantages - its competitive tax base, excellent legal system, good infrastructure, strong public finances, high quality workforce and world-class finance sector."

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