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"Crucial" that Government leads the way on digital revolution

Tuesday 12 October 2021

"Crucial" that Government leads the way on digital revolution


Special work permits for 'digital entrepreneurs' are one of the measures identified to fill the skills gap.

The Digital Framework 2021-2025 has been published by Digital Guernsey and outlines three strategic goals for the political term: Enabling Infrastructure; Developing Digital Skills & Pathways; and Innovation, Transformation & Entrepreneurial Growth.

Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller, Chair of Digital Guernsey and Economic Development Lead for Digital, Skills and Entrepreneurship, said the framework “provides guidance and coordination to help accelerate our digital capability this term.”

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Pictured: The Digital Framework 2021-2025 has been produced to provide strategic direction. 

“We have broadened the framework to recognise that ‘digital’ impacts our whole economy and the daily life of islanders, not just the technology sector. The States of Guernsey will play a key, enabling role through a multi-million pound investment in digital connectivity, skills and digitisation of government.

“We’re already working to put the actions in this framework into effect, evidenced by the policy letter that the States will discuss this week on fibre roll-out.”

That policy letter, if approved, will see the States commit £12.5m towards Sure’s £37m proposals to provide island-wide fibre coverage that will directly reach every property in Guernsey with a faster, more reliable connection and the possibility of 1 gigabit-per-second coverage.

The project is due to begin next year, with a targeted completion date of 2026.  

Meanwhile, P&R says the restructuring of Government will “create a more modern and efficient public service” where interactions with government “can be done through a ‘one-stop, tell us once’ approach.”

“Improving the delivery of public services and reducing the size and cost of government is dependent on improved technology,” said Deputy Heidi Soulsby, the P&R representative on Digital Guernsey. 

“As we encourage the development of Guernsey’s digital capability, it is crucial that government leads the way.”

Deputy Bob Murray, Education representative on Digital Guernsey, says there will be action to improve skills development through the education system by “embedding” digital skills and online learning in the Bailiwick Curriculum.

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Pictured: The investment in full-island fibre coverage will reportedly create around 75 new jobs, while the impact of faster broadband on the wider economy is anticipated to increase GDP by up to 1.1%.

“The recognition of the need for home-grown talent in the framework is really encouraging to see. We need to ensure that schools, colleges and other education providers are equipping learners of all ages with the right skills for life and for existing jobs, as well as those of the future.”

Business will have a role to play in this, according to the framework, which stresses the importance of monitoring and reporting on the digital skills capability across the economy and “scanning the horizon” for the needs of the future.

Politicians have also made a commitment to develop programmes with Skills Guernsey in partnership with industry that increase digital capability with a focus on identified on-island gaps.

One of the next steps to be taken is the development of ‘digital entrepreneur permits’ through the Population and Immigration Policy Review in 2021-22.

“This will help ensure greater access to skilled workers who can help on-island business innovate and grow sustainably,” according to Digital Guernsey’s framework. 

“Guernsey is in a competitive global market for talent, and so needs to have a clear and attractive offer for people who want to work and set up businesses in Guernsey. The current Population Management approach’s in-policy roles already reflect the importance of this – but Guernsey needs to be proactive in attracting people to the island."

The Digital Framework is available HERE

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