• Lucy Markillie
Digital 1000 helps residents across Greater Manchester to boost their digital skills

Recent findings from the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2017 showed that over 11 million adults in the UK don’t have the basic digital skills required to operate effectively day-to-day. Even more shockingly, 4.3 million adults have no digital skills whatsoever.


The government has also just confirmed a £3m pilot to help employers in Greater Manchester and surrounding areas to address local digital skills gaps through short training courses. This pilot will see short-term ‘bootcamp’ activity to upskill individuals and fill immediate gaps in the digital industry.


Complementary activity is already under way to address the longer-term skills needs of the industry which, with 80,000 people employed in 8,000 businesses, is a priority sector for Greater Manchester. One such supporting activity is Digital 1000, which we launched back in June alongside our local authority partners.


The aim of the project is to get 1000 residents across Greater Manchester digitally included over a 12-month period, giving them the skills they need to thrive online both in a personal and professional capacity.


There are two online platforms being used as part of Digital 1000 which people can use to access free courses and training in basic digital skills: Learn My Way and iDEA. Learn My Way offers a range of courses which are enabling Greater Manchester residents to gain confidence online and complete simple online tasks, such as finding a job, managing money or completing an online purchase.


While iDEA – set up by The Duke of York – helps people to develop their digital, enterprise and employability skills through a series of online challenges. For every new skill mastered, iDEA learners are awarded a digital badge to put towards their Bronze or Silver Award.


The platform is already making a huge difference in schools, colleges, businesses and communities across the city-region, helping young people to gain the skills they need to stand out to employers.


iDEA isn’t just for young people – it’s for everyone. Speaking about the initiative, The Duke of York said: “iDEA has been set up to help inspire people to become digital citizens, workers, makers, entrepreneurs and gamers to enhance their employability; and to empower them to develop vital life skills.”


“We’re pleased to work with partners (like the Growth Company) who are promoting digital skills to people of all ages throughout their networks, from students, apprentices and job seekers, to adult education groups, business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators and pensioners.”


Digital 1000 and iDEA have been championed by Naomi Timperley from Wakelet who feels that the initiative is a fantastic way to develop and engage the digital entrepreneurs of the future.


She said: “I think it’s fantastic that the Growth Company is championing to get 1000 people digitally included. It’s a really big challenge but something that everyone should be supportive of - to have 1000 more people who can perhaps work in industry or just be empowered to learn a little more about tech and digital will have a hugely positive impact.


She continued: “Using the iDEA platform to support Digital 1000 is fantastic because it is literally for everybody. It’s a brilliant, free platform for any age – whether you’re 13 or 103 anyone can learn on it. The Bronze Award has had such a positive impact so far, and I’m delighted that the Silver Award has now launched.


Here at the Growth Company, we’re passionate about inclusive growth and giving people from all walks of life the chance to gain new skills and find employment. If you’d like to boost your digital skills, simply follow the below steps:

1. Go to https://iDEA.org.uk

2. Register your details, then click edit profile and enter the organiser code ‘GCCUSTOMER’

3. To claim your GC badge, click ‘Have a badge code’, then enter ‘GCiDEA11’

4. Click ‘redeem’

5. You will then gain two points towards your Bronze Award