Digital economy relies on making content, not just consuming it

By Danny Palmer
05 Sep 2013 View Comments
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The government must ensure that people have the skills required to create digital content, rather than just consume it, says chancellor George Osborne.

Osborne was speaking at Campus Party Europe, a week-long technology festival at London's O2 Arena, during a panel discussion alongside Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

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The two agreed that the government must work together with industry to encourage a culture of online participation, allowing people to gain skills that can lead to new job opportunities or even setting up new businesses.

"The government is determined to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to succeed," said Osborne.

"That is why we are going to give our young people the very best tech start in life, by investing in our broadband infrastructure, introducing a new coding curriculum and opening up government data so that it can be used by thousands of small businesses to produce innovative new apps and services."

Osborne stated that the government wants the UK to be the best place in the world for technology.

"With government working together with business and entrepreneurs, I believe we can get there," he said.

"With this in place we must work closely with business to encourage more people to be producers, not just consumers of digital content. This way we will ensure our digital economy is booming; producing the kind of jobs we need to win in the global race."

Wales added that there was still a lot of potential to be tapped into in the digital industries and that it is important to grab the opportunities they offer.

"We live in an era that was previously unimaginable," he said. "People everywhere are now able to develop rather than just consume digital technology. It is important that we, as individuals, take advantage of the opportunities presented to us to deliver high-quality digital content that benefits everyone."

"There is still a huge amount of potential to be tapped into. So it is exciting to see the latest generation take up this challenge intuitively."

The government is attempting to encourage young students to take up more IT-related subjects and plans have already been made to include coding in the curriculum from next year.

However, following last month's A-Level results, Jane Richardson, director of Oracle Academy EMEA, told Computing that ICT's continuing lack of popularity is "disappointing".

"Just from looking at the data that's come out, ICT was once again not in the top 10 subjects, which is disappointing from an industry perspective given the global skills gap in computer science skills," she said.

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