Last year, Agilisys commenced a 10-year Partnership with the States of Guernsey to modernise the island’s IT and infrastructure, transform public services and unlock Guernsey’s digital potential. Richard Hanrahan, Chief Executive of Agilisys Guernsey and Kate Sole, Programmes Manager at the GTA University Centre share their thoughts on why building the right digital skills eco-system is vital for Guernsey’s future prosperity and how the GTA are providing essential and relevant qualifications to support this process.
We are constantly reminded about the impact of digital technology on the world of work. The findings in the recent PWC Report ‘Upskilling the Channel Islands’ workforce for a digital world’ make clear the importance of being willing to embrace change and unlock the opportunities for Guernsey’s workforce. So, how are we responding to those opportunities, and what is being done to make sure Islanders are supported to develop the right digital skills for the future of work?
Perhaps the first question we should ask is what does Guernsey want to be famous for in 10, 15, or 20 years’ time?
For probably the first time, that question can be answered without the constraint of location or geography as, with digital, both become less important. We only have to look at how easily so many of the world’s office workers have adapted to working from home in the last few months and how previously ‘essential’ global business travel has been thrown aside and replaced with Microsoft Teams meetings or Zoom calls.
What’s clear however, is that whatever Guernsey envisages for its future, digital skills will play a pivotal role in realising that vision.
The second question is what do we mean by digital skills, and what is the digital skills eco-system?
It starts with schools, where we can already see there is a need to teach basic digital literacy alongside the three Rs. Whether it is access to modern devices, Apps or knowhow, it is incumbent on all societies to ensure no child is digitally excluded, based on their background or circumstances. In this way we can ensure everyone has the basic skills they need to live and work in a digital society. However the majority of the workforce will need more than basic skills. They will require the ability to interact with technology efficiently and understand the capability of digital platforms within the new world of work.
This is where more structured training in an educational or workplace setting becomes essential. Acquiring digital skills is now seen as an issue that impacts us all, with the World Economic Forum pointing out that the digital skills gap is widening.
The GTA University Centre provides a range of training and learning and development opportunities to support professional learners in the digital workplace.
Courses range from the Institute of Directors’ ‘Directing Companies in a Digital World’ and Digital Leadership Seminars to Project Management, Cyber Security and Digital Marketing, all of which provide local industry with a solid and secure grounding in the digital world. By keeping abreast of technological changes, combined with supporting staff training, you can build, motivate and retain a highly skilled team.
Through the SMART Guernsey Partnership with Agilisys, the States are also investing in an Economic Development programme to support Guernsey’s digital economy, with the Digital Greenhouse offering a range of programmes to support businesses and individuals. This includes Data Analyst Apprenticeships and the internationally renowned Squared Online Digital marketing course.
This summer also saw the launch of the Guernsey Innovation Network (GIN): a digital platform powered by Hive Learning which allows members to network and share knowledge, as well as Digital Bootcamps to support organisations to unleash their digital potential and scale up faster than they would otherwise have done. You can find out more about the opportunities to upskill through the programme by visiting the Digital Greenhouse website www.digitalgreenhouse.gg
All these initiatives unlock the potential of new ways of working through digital platforms and applications which allow us to work in completely new ways: automating tasks, prioritising activity, storing information, interpreting data etc.
Finally, equally as important as learning to work with and harness technology, is developing the skills and capability to undertake the governance and control of organisations as directors and leaders. This will result in leaders being mindful of the opportunity and the risk of an ever evolving digitally connected and enabled world.
Adapting and adopting a digital mindset is now second nature to many organisations, and is essential to maintaining an advantage in an increasingly competitive world. Across Guernsey, businesses and individuals are investing in their futures by developing the skills they need to succeed. Without a doubt, the future of work is here and the time to act is now.
By taking up every opportunity to remain current and by being at the forefront of the shift to digital, you can be confident in your business maintaining that competitive edge.
For more information about digital learning opportunities that the GTA University Centre has to offer visit www.gta.gg. To discuss your career or business requirements, please call or email Kate Sole on 721555 and [email protected]