Ensuring everyone has access to work
Digital Leaders, the national initiative promoting digital transformation, leadership and innovation has launched the UK’s 5th National Digital Week. The week, which covers the whole of the UK, is online, making all its content accessible to the whole UK, particularly relevant during a week where the government advice is to remain at home to avoid planned railways chaos.
This is the UK’s biggest annual gathering of people focused on four key questions driven by digital transformation and is the only Digital or Tech Week in the UK that is truly nationwide. Over 30,000 free sessions have been booked by leaders in business, government and charities in the week ahead from across the whole UK.
Last Week I saw the focus of the digital community in the UK on London during LTW. There is of course no doubt about London’s importance as a global tech powerhouse, but this National Digital Week we have set up at Digital Leaders demonstrates so clearly that digital is now no longer a London led initiative. Every corner of the UK is now leading locally on delivering transformation of businesses and public services.
No one is asking London to show the rest of the UK the way anymore beyond it holding the purse strings. The level of expertise, knowledge and networks outside of the capital means the opportunities for digital growth, skills and participation are being realised nationally and as we say at Digital Leaders its about being #notjustLondon”
At this year’s launch all four digital Ministers from the Home Nations with responsibility for Digital in their portfolio launched the Week together from their respective countries.
As part of the launch, and emphasising the national nature of the week, my own Chair of Digital Leaders, Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, said that we remain focussed on creating an accessible and truly UK wide week, in which there are no barriers to participation”.
She was followed by Chris Philp MP, Minister for Tech & the Digital Economy, DCMS who said that he wanted to boost the adoption of digital technology across the whole UK economy, and that doing that requires organisational leaders to have an in-depth understanding of the significance of digital transformation within their organisations. He called on all thee Digital leaders to double their efforts to help others at this important time.”
Speaking from Edinburgh, Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise in the Scottish Government emphasised the importance of digital to everyone in Scotland. He said we all know digital is vital to everything we do. Our work, our social life, our shopping habits and our access to critical services is and will continue to be a critical part of everyday life in Scotland even declaring that the next ten years will be Scotland’s digital decade.”
In Cardiff, Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the Welsh Government said that the week is a key opportunity to celebrate what is going on in Wales and to be inspired and to inspire each other. From Belfast, Conor Murphy MLA, Minister of Finance in the Northern Irish Government felt that the opportunity was to exploit these technologies to maximum effect to the benefit of everyone who lives in Northern Ireland.
For me London is no longer the sole driving force for digital change in the UK. As our Ministers all demonstrated, there is now a real commitment to transformation UK wide and the opportunities, benefits and challenges to get it right are well understood. Sharing and spreading that momentum is what our 5th National Digital Week is all about doing.