A message from FutureDotNow CEO, Liz Williams MBE

As FutureDotNow enters its third year of activity, I couldn’t be prouder of what we have achieved as a coalition in such a short period of time. We have big plans for FY2022, and I’m excited to share some of these with you at our upcoming Autumn event, Collective action for a digital world.

If you haven’t yet booked your place for this members’ event, then please do so, look out for the invitation email with your booking code or get in touch at [email protected]. There’s more information about the event below. Earlier this month we held our Senior Leaders Council (SLC) with a host of c-suite leaders from across a range of sectors. It was a dynamic and engaging event, where we debated some of the collective issues surrounding EDS upskilling. We are keen to drive up action across the coalition and the event was a great start at looking at how we can collaborate further over the next year. 

This month, I’ve also had the opportunity to address delegates at a number of events, including the Chatham House Future of Work conference and Forum Strategy’s #TrustLeaders CEO conference. They were a great opportunity to continue to raise the importance of EDS. Thank you to those organisations who invited us to speak, and if any members would like to include us in future events please reach out to the team on [email protected].

Finally, I very was happy to join one of the two panel discussions at the recent launch of the Lloyds Bank Essential Digital Skills Report. This follows the release of the Consumer Digital Index, back in May, and focuses on the change in digital capabilities since early 2020, including the impact of the pandemic.  You can read more about what the report says, and what we think the new figures mean, below.


New members

Our coalition now stands at 161 – welcome to our new members!

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly’s Digital Skills Partnership

A strategic board which drives the activity of Partnerships, and a group of Digital Skills Champions representing key sectors in Cornwall.

Hurdle Group Ltd.
A digital skills provider who offer a live, online training platform which facilitates software training using a virtual computer.


Collective action for a digital world

We’re delighted to invite you to our virtual Autumn event, Collective Action for a Digital World, taking place on Thursday 4 November at 10am.

Despite significant progress, there remains a digital skills crisis in the UK.

It has been an exceptional period. The pandemic has provided the biggest proof of concept for what digital can deliver, so it’s unsurprising that over this period the number of people deemed to have the Essential Digital Skills (EDS) for work has risen dramatically.

While this is undoubtedly good news, a huge proportion of the workforce still don’t have the digital skills they need to get on in work. This is damaging the UK’s competitiveness and productivity, and holding companies back. For individuals, it’s making it harder to thrive in our ever more digital world.

But something can be done. At this event we’ll outline the changing nature of the digital skills agenda, reflecting on what the current data is telling us, and how this should inform our actions. We’ll look ahead to how we can deliver change at scale over the coming year, so 2022 is a year of collaboration and action across our membership.

We are delighted to announce our speakers:

Sir Peter Estlin, FutureDotNow

Liz Williams MBE, FutureDotNow

Jemma Waters, Lloyds Banking Group

Vivek Ganotra, Salesforce

Holly Chate, FutureDotNow

This event is designed for our members, however if you’ve not yet joined the coalition and are interested in attending please get in touch – [email protected].


Lloyds CDI – how the pandemic has impacted the EDS levels

It’s now been a few weeks now since Lloyds Bank released the 2021 Essential Digital Skills Report. This was the first real look at how the pandemic has impacted the levels of Essential Digital Skills (EDS) in the UK.

It shows good news, with the number of adults in the workforce with the EDS for work up by 5.6 million people. From 15.4m in 2020 to 20.9m people. This means they have at least one skill in each of the 5 areas in the framework (communicating, transacting, problem solving, data handling, being safe and legal online).

Accordingly, the number of people in work without the work EDS has also dropped from 17.1m people in 2020 to 11.8m. The ‘hidden middle’ is now 36% of the workforce down from 52%.

The data allows us the break down the hidden middle further:

  • 21% (7 million) have some of the work skills but not one in each of the 5 areas
  • 7% (2.3 million) have foundation skills. This means they can turn on a PC, connect to wifi, open a browser, go to a website
  • 8% do not have the very basics. 2.4 million people in the workforce. This number has increased from 5% in 2020. Troubling given rate of digital acceleration over the pandemic.

The pandemic has clearly been a huge driver for upskilling, but even with such a seismic event, 11.8m people are in work and are still without EDS for work, presenting a huge risk to business productivity, transformation and resilience, and of course, their own potential and prosperity.

And when the report says people ‘have the EDS for work’ – that means they have a minimum of 5 of the 17 essential digital skills for work. Only c10.5 million working age adults (32%) have all 17 skills.

Join us at our Autumn event, Collective action for a digital world, 4 November when Jemma Waters, Head of Responsible Transformation for Lloyds Banking Group and FutureDotNow board member will be exploring the data in more detail in conversation with our COO Holly Chate. 


Chatham House: Future of Work 2021 Conference

Did you miss the Future of Work 2021 conference hosted a couple of weeks ago? The fantastic team over at Chatham House recorded the event and FutureDotNow members can access the recordings – completely free of charge. Email [email protected] to get your exclusive code.

The conference welcomed an international audience of policymakers, senior business leaders and labour market experts, including our very own Liz Williams! The event explored the trends transforming the nature of work, with a focus on skills, resiliency, and adaptability.


Keep the conversation going

This is your coalition and we want to make sure that you are getting the most out of it.


Do you have some insight, lessons learned that you think others in the coalition would benefit from? We’re always keen to showcase what our members are doing on their EDS journey. Please get in touch on the email below to feature in upcoming newsletters.

Don’t forget to follow us and share our content on Twitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please do send it to [email protected] and we will get back to you.


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