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Digital Equity & The Way Forward


The last few years have brought digital skills and equity sharply into the foreground. 

The pandemic zoomed the online world into our lives,  playing a crucial role in how we socialised, worked, accessed information, shopped online, viewed entertainment, and communicated and connected with whānau and friends. 

Many organisations have made strides in digitally transforming their operations and workplaces.  Here are our top five learnings about successful in-work initiatives which raise skills, and change workplaces and employees’ lives.

1. Skills are not enough

Some staff in your organisation will be feeling nervous about digital, so part of the solution is talking about beliefs and fears and creating time and space to build digital confidence.  In some ways, this digital confidence can be even more important than skills.  This is because it gives staff confidence to deal with technological challenges that don’t even exist today.  So skills + digital confidence + access are the winning trio when it comes to this work.

2. There are lots of frameworks to define digital skills

Still, one we’re exploring at the moment is Essential Digital Skills from futuredotnow, a coalition of industry leaders in the UK who are working to ensure that all working-age adults have the digital skills they need to benefit their own prosperity and UK productivity.  Using a consistent framework matters because it helps establish a clear baseline of where things are at.  And to design a learning intervention that can create measurable change.  The Essential Digital Skills Framework assesses 26 functional digital skills across communicating, transacting, problem-solving, information handling, safety, and security.

3. The numbers are significant

The above report found that 59% of the UK workforce was not meeting its digital potential. The most significant opportunity for improvement is in online safety and the ability to problem-solve online.  In New Zealand, the Bank of New Zealand conducted a study of the digital skillset of New Zealanders (using the essential skills framework) and found that 20% of the population lacked the digital know-how necessary for modern life.  That’s 100,000 New Zealanders.

4. The workplace is a logical space for digital access and an obvious win-win

Staff can receive digital communication relating to company policies, health and safety, events, and performance while building digital confidence at the same time as digital practice, is part of business as usual.  Digital inclusion at work has the power to shift the dial. 

5. Digital change goes hand in hand with change management

Any digital transformation introduced needs to follow elements for successful change. Codesign and communication should be top of your list.


Next steps

We hope that sharing our learning is useful to help you shape your thoughts on how best to create digital equity in your organisation. However, ‘assumption is the mother of all mistakes’.  Don’t assume that you know where your people sit with digital confidence – get out there and ask them. If you do identify skills gaps, talk with our team about how best to address them. Call us on 09 622 3979.


Find out more

All our courses have embedded digital elements but check out these three courses with a specific focus on technology.


Upskills Ltd.

Address: 93 Church St, Onehunga, Auckland 1061
Free parking: 120 minutes, Gerrard Beeson Pl.
Phone: 09 622 3979