Monday, November 28, 2022
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British workers feel age 45 is too late to change career – as they can't keep up with tech


Almost one in five (17 percent) feel they lack the digital skills needed to take this step.

And for 30 percent of adults, the biggest barriers to changing careers are a fear of change and a lack of confidence.

But almost a quarter (22 percent) worry they don’t have the ability to learn a new job, or simply don’t know where to begin.

One in seven (14 percent) even believe they have lost out on a job due to their lack of digital skills, while 12 percent think they have been offered a lower salary for the same reason.

But it has also meant 19 percent have decided against applying for a job, while one in four (25 percent) would be reluctant to start their own business.

The study was commissioned by Santander UK, through Santander Universities, to launch its free online introductory level digital skills course.

It has 50,000 places available to support lifelong learning and those facing challenges presented by the pandemic.

Matt Hutnell, Director of Santander Universities UK, said: “There is a misperception that you reach a point where you’ve left it too late to learn new skills, especially when it comes to technology.

“Re-skilling or up-skilling can be daunting, especially if you aren’t that confident when it comes to new tech, which can become a huge barrier when it comes to changing careers or trying to get back into work.

“This has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, as various roles have become increasingly digital with the move to more remote working.

“But learning a few small skills, or simply getting more confident in the ones you already know, can really broaden your career options – whether you want to upskill in your current career, start a new one, or get back into work following some time out.

“Our free digital skills course, as part of our Lifelong Learning campaign, is designed to give people the introduction they will need to start improving their digital skills.

“So many people have been affected by the pandemic, whether they are now unemployed or in a career which is now struggling. We want to help give people the skills they need to give their working life a boost.”

Although the pandemic has seen many move to home working and become more self-reliant with online systems, the study found some feel they still struggle with some “basic” digital tasks.

When asked about their confidence levels in completing 24 different things, such as creating formulas in a spreadsheet or backing up files to a cloud, 82 percent had at least one task they did not feel completely confident they could do.

More than a quarter (27 percent) would find it hard to create a presentation, and despite the rise of video calls during the pandemic, 22 percent aren’t completely confident setting up a virtual meeting or sharing their screen during a call.

For jobseekers looking for something new, 16 percent also worry they would struggle to upload their CV online.

And another 15 percent aren’t confident they could apply for jobs via the internet.

A quarter (25 percent) worry they wouldn’t be able to use LinkedIn – a key platform to source and apply for new roles.

But it also emerged 40 percent are looking to embark on a new challenge at work over the next year.

For 17 percent of those, the change is driven by their current field struggling with the effects of Covid-19 – but 21 percent feel the pandemic gave them the opportunity to re-evaluate their career.

Others are feeling more ambitious (14 percent) or motivated to start something new (10 percent), while 18 percent have used the time to learn new skills to open up more roles to them.

In partnership with the Institute of Coding and the TechUP initiative, based at Durham University, the Your Digital Pathway course aims to support people to take the first step on the pathway to building their digital skills – to help them return to or start education, return to work or pivot their career, or set up a business online.

Prof. Rachid Hourizi, director of the Institute of Coding, said: “It’s clear one of the many impacts of the pandemic has been an increase in the number of people re-evaluating their job, career path and next steps.

“Through collaboration with our consortium of leading UK universities and employers, we’re creating digital skills courses like this that will help a larger and more diverse group of people reach their goals through lifelong learning.”

Prof. Sue Black, professor of computer science at Durham University and TechUP Lead, added: “Education and technology transformed my life, enabling a successful career and being the vehicle that brought my family out of poverty.

“In this programme we have specifically chosen topics, from the basics through to some advanced areas, which will contribute towards learners’ understanding of the opportunities available to support their path towards tech success.

“Whether you want to get back into education or work, or set up your own business, we’ve created a step-by-step course to help you get there. Technology is the future, make sure you are part of it.”

Your Digital Pathway is open for registrations here until 29 June 2022. 

TOP 20 DIGITAL SKILLS BRITS DON’T FEEL CONFIDENT IN DOING:

  1. Creating a website
  2. Creating a blog
  3. Creating formulas in a spreadsheet
  4. Creating a presentation using Microsoft Office or Google Docs
  5. Using LinkedIn
  6. Turning on/off track changes in Microsoft Office or Google Docs
  7. Applying for jobs via a social media platform
  8. Creating a download link for pictures and videos
  9. Backing up files on the Cloud
  10. Sharing your screen during a video call through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or similar
  11. Setting up a video call through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or similar
  12. Creating email signatures
  13. Laying out a CV using software such as Microsoft Office or Google Docs
  14. Uploading/editing a document online using Microsoft Office or Google Docs
  15. Entering data into a spreadsheet
  16. Using different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  17. Updating hardware or software versions on your computer or other device
  18. Installing a printer on your computer or other device
  19. Setting up an out of office email message
  20. Uploading your CV online



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