The world is awash with statistics on the impact of the web on 21st century living, learning and working. They are accompanied by the pronouncements and predictions of experts from every camp, from those heralding a new brave new world of co-creation and choice, to warnings from the dark side in terms of ethics and educational standards, tempered by increasing recognition that ‘we’ may no longer be in control of such matters. Meanwhile, surveys report that around 80% of businesses have invested in IT and 60% have websites. Whilst the extent and value of adoption differs significantly across businesses and sectors, the foundations for new ways of working and doing business are broadly in place, with older and static businesses typifying the laggards. It would not be unsafe to project that, by 2013, even more people will be required to use ICT in the workplace and in their everyday lives, increasingly involving online communication and web-based applications. This represents a scenario to which those responsible for developing curricula and awards must respond – in the primary and secondary phases, vocational and applied learning, work based and adult community provision and higher education. To ensure the relevance of and to influence the ongoing enhancement of user ICT provision and the associated awards, Digital 2020 and the Scottish Qualifications Authority jointly commissioned Sero Consulting to develop a vision for ICT user skills in 2013 – ‘Next Generation User Skills’ – taking account of: • Skills that all employers will need, which they may not currently recognise. • Skills that people (especially young people) will already have, but which may not be accredited. • Essential skills for living and learning in a digital age. This paper is drawn from the resulting public report, ‘Next Generation User Skills – Working, Learning & Living Online in 2013’ (September 2008), which provides: • An overview of the current ICT user skills landscape. • A model representing digital activities and competencies that might constitute the ‘Next Generation User Skillscape’. • A mapping of that activity space onto tools and awards, with a gap analysis identifying weaknesses in provision. • An overview of the recommendations to the report sponsors
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