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Digital skills and digital culture

Posted on 13 January 2020

Joss Ivory is HR Director for the University of York. In this audio clip she discusses digital skills in relation to digital culture: how common administrative task have drastically changed with the advent of the digital age and what staff at York can do to embrace these changes.

Find out more about the digital skills framework.


Hello my name is Joss Ivory, I am the HR Director at the University of York and I would like to just talk to you briefly about digital skills and digital culture. If you are as old as I am, you will remember a time when perhaps work was very different, where there was perhaps one person who had access to a computer. Other people would perhaps draw diagrams, they'd hand write things for someone else to type, that’s a very long time ago. The world of work has changed phenomenally since then and we are now, if you like, self service with digital, we are all given access to technology, we are given access to really up to date tools, we are given access to training and we are expected to use it. That is very much the direction of travel, but with some really important things I would like you to take on board, which is around how we support you with that.

So the digital skills framework is really there to help you. It's been put together by people who know a lot more about this thing then I do, but it is very much there as a tool for you to have a look at and to think about what you can do, how you can help others but where also you might need help. So I would just like to take you through perhaps a little bit of context. I mean the world of work as we know it now, was very much about using digital platforms for communicating, collaborating, innovating. I can remember for example where you would go for a meeting and somebody would be in there using shorthand perhaps to type up some minutes later. Now people are editing on a Google share and everyone can share that and share the experience and the important outputs from those meetings. So that kind of collaboration in the moment rather than waiting for someone to go away, type up the minutes and see it in two or three months' time, that’s long gone, we are now expected to be part of the experience, own the experience, share the experience, innovate as part of it, using technology to help us do that.

Also in terms of learning and development, you can’t beat the face to face classroom type delivery workshop type learning, action learning but also increasingly we are using online learning to supplement that. There are some really good online platforms that we use as part of our learning and development offer, so don’t be afraid of those things even if there is a test at the end, it is possible to go back and have a look at where you have gone wrong and do it again. So it’s not an examination where there is a pass or fail, it’s there to help you learn.

So we are increasingly using technology as part of our learning and development offer to our staff and with that bringing huge opportunities, the opportunity to train larger numbers of people, in perhaps more innovative ways, is all possible through digital platforms. The world of work is changing as we know. The latest thinking that I have been reading about is that there is an estimate that about 35% of current jobs in, I think probably it is nationally, or in the world, it was actually a British report, 35% of current jobs won't exist as they are now and many primary school children will end up working in jobs that don't even exist, things we can't even imagine and such is the pace of change and we want to be part of that, we don’t want to get left behind and we don’t want you to get left behind either. It's important that we use technology to help us with our work and to not be afraid of it. 

So the digital culture is about how we can help our staff go on this journey together. So, some things I would just like to leave you with is don’t be afraid of it, don’t be afraid if you think I’ve asked someone this already and I can’t remember, ask them again, because you will get there. The help is there for you, some people just get it. Technology is no longer the role of an IT professional, it’s for all of us and some people get it more easily than others, some are willing to take a few more risks to go in and play with it and some people are actually scared of it and that’s fine too because we’ve got lots and lots of people and tools to help you with that. So what you can’t do is put your head in the sand and think it’s going to go away because it’s here and it’s really exciting times. So please join this journey with us and be part of our digital culture. One important thing to leave you with is thinking about your wellbeing. Don’t think that being digital and being connected means you’ve got to be 100% connected the whole time, look after yourself in the use of technology and find time to do the things that perhaps don’t involve technology.