Lisa Cameron MP


Lisa Cameron MP

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Article Published on

April 24

Parliamentary Tech Champion

As digital skills become increasingly important, we must ensure that our citizens have the tools to keep up

There is no doubt that the UK has lofty ambitions when it comes to our digital economy. With the availability of transformative technologies and top domestic talent to help us along the way, I am confident the UK is well placed to realise these digital ambitions.

For this reason, our party has created a bold new plan to cement the UK’s place as a science and technology superpower by 2030. We recognise the potential for new and developing technologies to be the driver of the UK economy moving forward, which is why we are embracing the use of cutting-edge artificial intelligence and supercomputing.

To utilise this transformative technology to its full potential, we need to ensure that the country holds the necessary talent pipeline. This is no small task and will require a considerable amount of investment across all stages of our education system.

As chair of the Crypto and Digital Assets All-Party Parliamentary Group, I was thrilled to see the levels of curiosity and understanding around technology on display when the Children’s Parliament came to visit our group. Younger people are digitally native, and it is crucial that we help them build on this interest by implementing digital skills as a key part of the school curriculum going forward.

It should not just be the younger generations that are getting to grips with these skills, there must be development across age groups so that older adults in careers where they have not had the chance to gain digital skills are given opportunities to do so.

This across-the-lifespan approach is made even more important by the value employers are placing on digital education. A report by Access Partnership and Amazon Web Services, published at the start of this year, showed that 51% of employers consider hiring talent with AI skills and experience to be a priority.

We must give our workforce the self-confidence needed to master these crucial skills, and a £1 billion investment from the Government to train millions in high-tech skills is a very promising step. However, we cannot rest on our laurels. We must continue to invest in our tech talent pipeline to ensure our workforce is equipped to keep Britain at the forefront of global tech.

A key part of this investment will be supporting the increasing number of young women and girls taking an interest in tech. This interest is evident in my own two daughters, who are both very digitally confident, representing a generation of girls who are digitally native.

Sadly, this natural confidence is not yet reflected at top levels. A recent study by Forex Suggest found that just 6% of CEOs in the blockchain industry were women, and 94% of executive positions were held by men. We need to do a better job of ensuring that the digital confidence shown by young girls is allowed to continue through the classroom, through their education and into the workplace.

We must make a concerted effort to equip all our citizens with vital digital skills, ensuring that nobody is left behind as employers and workplace become increasingly technologically minded. These digital skills are the bedrock of the talent pipeline that will drive the UK into becoming a science and technology superpower by 2030.

About the author

Lisa is a Scottish politician and former consultant clinical psychologist who served as the MP for East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow from winning the seat at the 2015 general election until standing down at the 2024 general election.

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