Digital skills in the workplace

Digital skills are essential for people to be able to participate fully in 21st century life - in the community, at work and in their personal lives.

As the nature of work changes to encompass technology, as government services shift to online platforms, and as everyday activities such as banking, booking appointments and personal communication move online, every citizen needs to be equipped with the skills to engage digitally. 

Skills Highway, in conjunction with The Learning Wave, has carried out some work on digital skills in foundation level programmes, focusing on what this means for learners in workplace literacy and numeracy programmes funded through the TEC's Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) fund.

This work focuses on the use of digital skills, i.e. digital behaviours and practices. As such the definition of a person who is digitally skilled at work is someone who can “confidently and competently use digital technology in the workplace.”

The Learning Wave has developed a framework so that employers and employees are able to understand what being digitally skilled looks like in practice. The framework reflects a continuum of practice whereby users require support and guidance as they start out, but grow to be independent users, adopters and adapters of digital technology over time.  A summary paper that contains the framework is available here.

New resource: 

Jenkins, R. (2015). Integrating digital literacy into English language instruction: Companion learning resource. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. 
As digital literacy starts to be part of many workplace literacy and numeracy programmes we thought this resource might provide some useful background ideas along with strategies for promoting digital skills development. While the focus is on English Language Instruction and the particular lesson examples may not include things you don’t already know, there are some useful examples of digital skills (p9) and activities (p10). 

Stepping UP is free community-based computer training that builds digital skills and knowledge in small easy steps, in subjects that are relevant to learners' life or work.
Each self-paced module takes two hours, in a relaxed and sociable space, with a friendly library tutor there to help.

Upskills have a great blog on digital skills available here.

MBIE's website: Digital economy. See how the Government is enabling New Zealand to become a leading digital nation – a nation with a thriving digital sector, where our businesses, people and government are all using digital technology to drive innovation, improve productivity, and enhance the quality of life for all New Zealanders.

The 20/20 Trust provides digital inclusion leadership, partnering with local communities to deliver digital literacy and inclusion programmes that build New Zealanders’ computer skills and online access.

Key elements of an impactful workplace digital literacy program
This article, written by Elizabeth Marsh, has some great thoughts on how to ensure your workforce is ready to work digitally. She suggests taking the time to think about the essential elements that will help make the program a success: from defining digital literacy and thinking about a holistic approach, through to catering to different learning styles and measuring and evolving the program over time.