Civil servants studying in their own time to catch up on digital skills

Nearly half of civil servants do not feel their digital training has been sufficient, with 36% saying they rely on self-directed study to ensure they have the right skills

Steria study finds rise in the number of civil servants who feel their digital training is not up to scratch Credit: Fotolia

Over a third – 36% – of civil servants have resorted to self-directed study in their own time to ensure they have the digital skills for their role, according to a new survey.
The Government Digital Trends survey – carried out by Dods on behalf of Sopra Steria – found that while 35% of respondents have had digital training, nearly half – 43% – do not feel this training has been adequate.
The proportion of civil servants who do not think their training is adequate has grown each year since 2015, when the survey was first carried out. In that year, 37% of civil servants said their training was inadequate.

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Levels of training are rising – in 2015 only 13% had had any digital training, compared to 35% in 2017. More civil servants are also receiving digital training through inductions, up from 3% in 2015 to 8% in 2017. 

But 29% of respondents in 2017 said they had not been given any training in the digital skills needed for their role.
Lack of skills is identified as a key barrier to digital transformation – 62% of civil servants placed lack of training for staff among the top three barriers to change. Only 12% of respondents in 2017 said they had already had the right digital skills for their job, down from 17% in 2016.
Speaking to PT, Sopra Steria’s head of central government Tom McCann said respondents pointed in particular to a lack of service design and agile delivery management skills. 

“These two skills are essential for driving true transformation,” he said. “Without the skills and capability to look at services end to end and redesign them, we risk, at best, digitising the legacy. This is an opportunity missed. 

“To inject pace, government should continue to work closely with industry and industry bodies like techUK, and support and embrace the Digital Academy initiative in GDS [the Government Digital Service].”

The Digital Academy, previously part of the Department for Work and Pensions, came under the remit of GDS last year, and the Government Digital Strategy vows to offer “the best possible learning and development opportunities” for staff right across the civil service. 


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