Everyone should be able to live, learn, work and participate in the digital world.
Imagine an Olympics where only two athletes are good enough to qualify. That’s what’s happening in society today.
The need to upskill across ages, regions and professions has never been more urgent. Investment in skills is central to the government’s commitment to “building back better” from the COVID-19 pandemic—but it will also help us address some of the other great crises of today, from climate change to regional inequality.
This is not a new problem: even before COVID-19, 70% of CEOs were concerned about the availability of key skills. The pandemic has intensified this challenge, widening the regional skills gaps that already existed across the UK and deepening inequalities. And this isn’t just about digital skills. There is a growing need for skills that cannot be automated: creativity, judgment and empathy, to name a few.
We have a collective responsibility to ensure everyone has the fundamental skills they need to succeed. Closing the skills gap is an essential part of making the UK fairer, more sustainable and stronger on the global stage, leading to greater prosperity. We estimate that closing the skills gap could boost UK GDP by £87bn—equivalent to 3.4%—by 2030.
Getting this right won’t be easy. It will require business leaders, educators and national and regional governments to come together and collaborate in order to build more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.
Together, we can ensure everyone is able to live, learn, work and participate in the digital world.
“COVID-19 has been a catalyst for change, forcing us to transform the way we think about skills. We’ve been blown away by our clients’ desire not only to engage in this topic, but also to collaborate and move forward in a positive way.”
The PwC Building Public Trust Award for Upskilling Reporting, recognises UK based organisations who are leading the way and clearly articulating why and how they are upskilling their people and communities.
To enter, applicants must state how they demonstrate upskilling in their organisation in 1,000 words or less, submitting qualitative and quantitative evidence to support their application.
At PwC our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems.
Our ambition is to work with organisations to create a fair and sustainable future for the UK, underpinned by a thriving economy. Improving our skills base is critical to increasing prosperity in the UK, as well as delivering considerable benefits to society as a whole.
In response to this, PwC made a US$3bn commitment to upskilling. So far, this has primarily been invested in training our people, and in technologies for supporting clients and communities.
In July 2020, we launched our New world. New skills. Leadership Exchange programme, convening over 60 influential leaders from across business, government and academia to find solutions to the global skills crisis. Since then, this group has been regularly meeting to share insights and experiences and make personal commitments to champion the upskilling agenda, both in their own organisations and in society more broadly.
Our Digital Fitness App helps an individual build skills to develop their own “digital fitness”, through a personalised curriculum. People can read, watch or listen to the content, which covers 60 different topics, including many emerging technologies. To help society respond to the skills impacts of COVID-19, we’ve made our Digital Fitness App available to download for free, anywhere in the world, until July 2021.
Our Tech She Can and Tech We Can programmes are designed to encourage women and girls to pursue technology-related careers. To realise this vision, PwC UK has partnered with over 100 organisations, all of which have signed onto the Tech She Can Charter and pledged to work together to engage more girls in tech.
Our collaboration with Unicef represents an important milestone in PwC’s New world. New skills. journey and builds on PwC’s existing community ambition to help maximise the potential of 15 million people, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social and micro enterprises by 2022.
The Hive Hacker programme works with primary school pupils in Northern Ireland with the aim to inspire and teach six to eleven year olds about computer coding and technology — not just as end users, but as potential designers and creators of applications and solutions — by giving pupils and their school teachers skills in the basics of computer coding.
PwC’s Social Entrepreneurs Club is a UK-wide network that shares the skills of our people with ambitious social entrepreneurs to help them tackle society’s most important problems and drive social and environmental change. We have created a network of over 250 social entrepreneurs who are offered mentoring, coaching, networking and skills development designed to help them develop and grow their businesses and impact.
In 2019, people from across our UK firm volunteered to play a vital role in our digital transformation. Since then, our 240 Digital Accelerators have been trained in data manipulation and visualisation tools and acquired skills from data and analytics to digital acumen. By sharing everything they’ve learned with their teams, they’re helping build a collaborative digital culture.
We held our first two-day Digital Academy in 2020, and since then more than half of our 22,000 people have experienced hands-on training in data manipulation and visualisation tools. We are applying these new tech skills to work with our clients and to help solve their important problems.