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partnerships:articles:life1 [2017/06/12 10:20] (current)
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 +UK plc can't afford a generation of information have nots
 +=========================================================
 +
 +\
 + By [Chris Yapp](mailto:​chris.yapp@icl.com) chris.yapp@icl.com\
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +\
 +
 +Two issues dominate discussion about the Information Society: how to
 +develop a globally competitive workforce, and how to ensure 'have nots'
 +aren't excluded. We can have both if we use IT for lifelong learning,
 +says Chris Yapp, Managing Consultant, ICL Lifelong Learning. He wrote
 +this article in 1997.
 +
 +------------------------------------------------------------------------
 +
 +Only a generation ago, a single set of skills acquired by the age of
 +thirty or so would have carried most people through to retirement.\
 +\
 + Today we recognise the need to retrain people at all levels of the
 +workforce in order to maintain the globally competitiveness of our
 +firms, and also enable individuals to cope with increases in
 +self-employment,​ part-time and casual working.\
 +\
 + What this adds up to is a changing lifestyle for individuals,​ away from
 +a job for life to a search for lifetime employability. But is the
 +'​Lifelong learning for all' which we need merely a slogan, or could we
 +actually achieve it? Furthermore,​ is it actually desirable and
 +affordable ?\
 +\
 + ​Lifelong learning for all implies a number of issues that need to be
 +addressed:\
 +\
 +
 +-   ​Creating a national culture that values lifelong learning
 +-   ​Access to lifelong learning
 +-   '​Content'​ relevant to each individuals lifelong learning needs.
 +
 +It is here that the technologies of the so-called information
 +superhighway come into the picture. We cannot afford to retrain the
 +whole workforce maybe three or four times through adult life using
 +current models. The promise of the technology is the ability to
 +re-engineer existing expenditure to deliver more effective education and
 +training.\
 +\
 + But this leads us to a '​cultural'​ problem in the UK. Surely, IT is for
 +white male anorak nerds of 25 and under? If you're over 40 you're
 +effectively brain dead and will never adjust. If we take the last two
 +sentences seriously, then we will create a serious problem for all of
 +us.\
 +\
 + ​Experience in South Bristol, and elsewhere, shows we do not have to be
 +so gloomy. We can avoid a society of information haves and have nots and
 +in the process provide people with the skills they need for
 +employability,​ and which UK PLC needs for internatational
 +competitiveness.\
 +\
 + Over two years ago ICL started working with the South Bristol Learning
 +Network on the development of Cyberskills. Over that time we have
 +trained people from 17 to 84 in a variety of technologies including
 +CD-ROMs, the Internet/​World Wide Web and Video Conferencing. These
 +people have covered all social and economic classes, abilities and
 +public, private and voluntary sectors. We now have a dozen Cyberskills
 +centres in the UK and our first US export.\
 +\
 + What is significant is that the materials for the sessions were
 +developed and delivered by previously unemployed people with no
 +experience of IT, some of whom were in their 50's. If sensitively
 +handled age, gender, and ability prove to be limited obstacles to the
 +use of new technologies. With school children, even where education is
 +'​uncool'​ it is OK to be good at sport and IT.\
 +\
 + In our educational trials we are seeing many children engage with
 +learning through IT when traditional classroom practise has been
 +unsuccessful. With adults, even if they '​failed'​ at school, they didn't
 +fail at IT because it wasn't around. We have seen many examples where IT
 +has been a catalyst to re-engage adults with the learning process and
 +raised their perception of their own capabilities. This has led us to an
 +approach that we call "​People First, Technology Second"​.\
 +\
 + Our experience to date suggest that there is a great appetite in the UK
 +for learning in all sectors of our society. The goal is to harness this
 +energy for economic and social well-being.\
 +\
 + ​Looking at international comparisons of UK performance in educational
 +and training performance,​ the general picture is that the UK's top
 +10-15% of education and training is globally competitive,​ but what dogs
 +our competitiveness is the bottom quartile in particular. In the
 +Department for Education and Employment'​s Lifetime learning consultation
 +document there is an estimate that the failure to achieve basic skills
 +costs the UK £5bn.\
 +\
 + ​Social inclusion and competitiveness are often portrayed as
 +incompatible. I believe that globalisation and technical change make
 +this a damaging fallacy. We live in an era where the old rules don't
 +work anymore. Too much of the focus in the debate is around technology
 +and not the people and the society we wish to build. If we use our
 +brains to address the real issues, I have no doubt that British
 +ingenuity is up to the task of building a competitive and more inclusive
 +society .\
 +
  
partnerships/articles/life1.txt · Last modified: 2017/06/12 10:20 (external edit)