Business Technology

Richard Branson: Businesses will fall behind if students leave school without vital digital skills

2 min read

09 March 2015

Former deputy editor

At a Digital Youth Council meeting, made up of tech-savvy youngsters aged 9-17 as chosen by Virgin Media Business, Richard Branson has insisted that digital skills are incredibly important for the future of the UK's economy.

The entrepreneur’s declaration and support of technology falls in line with a new report supported by the British Retail Consortium and Google which comprises a five-year plan to digitally “reinvigorate UK high streets” and teach basic skills to SMEs.

Branson explained that digital knowledge is one of the most valuable things youngsters will carry when they leave school and added the government isn’t consulting students enough regarding how the skills are taught to them.

As such, the members of the Digital Youth Council are developing a Big Ask scheme through which Virgin Media Business will encourage the government and companies to work with each other to prepare pupils for the digital impact that is changing the business landscape.

On 5 March, BT promised to introduce 1,000 new apprenticeship and graduate positions in order to help youngsters get onto the careers ladder, a campaign that has been backed by David Cameron and Vince Cable.

Branson, said: “Britain is a digital leader, however our businesses will fall behind if students leave school without vital digital skills. Much is being done by the government to address this, but we need to make sure that the views of tech-savvy pupils aren’t overlooked. The Digital Youth Council is a great example of how we can harness the skills and views of young people and create digitally savvy entrepreneurs of the future.”

Read more on the UK’s skills gap:

Peter Kelly, managing director, Virgin Media Business, added: “The Digital Youth Council has done some exciting things in its first three months of existence – speaking out on key issues, developing recommendations for Government and even designing their own digital innovations. As a major player within education, we hope others in the sector will sit up and take note of its conclusions, recognising that they speak for students in classrooms around the country.”