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Digital skills: increasingly indispensable in the online age

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There is an increasing need to update one’s digital skills to avoid being on the margins of a society that moves more and more online

In 2020, the internet and digital devices have played an essential role in enabling people to adapt to a world conditioned by Covid-19. From virtual medical appointments to online shopping, to Distance Learning on Zoom or other platforms, digital service delivery has become the norm for large swathes of society.

But not for everyone. Less tech-savvy people,often older or from underrepresented communities, have failed to keep up with the rapid pace of change. This means they may have difficulty accessing health care, state support, job opportunities and more, as all of these activities increasingly require access online, rather than in person or over the phone. This shift to digital services has been accelerated by the pandemic and we will not go back, so we face a growing digital divide: the gap between people who have the skills and means to access digital services and those who do not.

On a positive note, according to a recent VMware research conducted at the turn of 2020 and 2021 on 6000 people in various countries of the world including Italy,most people believe that they are responsible for their digital know-how and how to improve it, but they need support to act on this.

That is why collaboration between governments, academia and industry is needed. Together we can help equip people with the confidence and skills they need to access the digital services they need, bridding the gap and enabling them to participate fully in the society of today and tomorrow. In particular, VMware research shows in the first place an increase in the use of digital services: in 2020, in EMEA, 43% of adults embraced new digital services and appreciated their experience, while 60% of respondents identify themselves as “digitally curious” or “digital explorer”, given that in our country it reaches as many as 83%.

Not only that: those who are digitally late risk being left behind,given that in EMEA, 34% of the over 55s describe themselves as “not digitally active” or “digitally na├»ve”, but in Italy only 28% define themselves as such;

In addition, 64% (73% in Italy) fear that their older relatives will not be able to keep up with the digital world, and more than one in three (37% in EMEA, 31% in Italy) has the feeling of losing control as technology pervades their daily lives more and more. The responsibility for training digital skillsalso counts: 59% of respondents (62% in Italy) believe they are responsible for the growth of their digital skills, while for 29% of respondents in our country it is the school or university that is responsible, for 16% the State and for 11% the responsibility derives from a collaboration between Public and Private.

If you then shift your attention to the subject you trust most for the increase in your digital skills, 60% declare themselves, 28% of respondents in our country have confidence in the school or university, 16% in the State and 13% in a collaboration between Public and Private.

In this context, VMware has been committed for years to supporting and developing digital skills around the world through the VMware IT Academy. Working with educational institutions, schools and universities along with public institutions, partner companies and organizations, the VMware IT Academy helps students of all ages develop their skills so that they can actively participate in the digital economy. In Italy, VMware has recently created the Digital Horizon program, in collaboration with CRUI and some Italian Universities, for the realization of training meetings, seminars and educational lessons at the Universities that have joined the program, putting VMware’s consolidated know-how in digital technologies in areas such as Cloud, Networking and Security and Digital Workspaceinto a system.

VMware is convinced that the collaboration between companies and the university world is essential to provide young people with the skills required today by a world of work that is profoundly transforming.

A fundamental synergy to support socio-economic development that, now more than ever, needs a strong digital transformation to be competitive on the global market. Raffaele Gigantino is Country Manager of VMware Italy