M&S joins UK coalition to digitally upskill the nation

M&SMarks & Spencer is stepping up its drive to tackle the digital skills shortage by joining a coalition of major organisations focused on getting working-age adults across the UK equipped with essential digital skills for life and work.

FutureDotNow is coordinating industry action to the train up the 17 million people who do not currently have digital skills for work, with only 23% of staff getting training from their employer.​

M&S joins Accenture, Asda, BT, Good Things Foundation, Lloyds Banking Group, Nationwide Building Society, Nominet, and PwC among others, to help the UK workforce to use technology to problem-solve, communicate and collaborate digitally, transact confidently and handle data securely, all whilst being safe and legal.

M&S insists it has joined FutureDotNow because it is keen to pass on its workplace digital skills training successes to the coalition for the benefit of the entire economy and to learn how other members of the coalition identify their digital skills needs and how they address them.

Particularly important to retailers like M&S is digital retail analytics, which provides data on factors including inventory levels, supply chain movement, consumer demand and sales.

Analytics are used for maintaining procurement levels and taking marketing decisions, however, these systems depend upon a wide range of people being able to use systems to input data from the front-line.

M&S head of enterprise data Suze Howse said: “Building the digital and data analytics capabilities of our colleagues is key to the M&S digital transformation.

“We’ve already made some great progress with the launch of our BEAM learning academy and continued investment in data-education programmes. Fostering a digitally-enabled culture is crucial to the success of M&S and the wider retail industry, which is why we’re proud to join FutureDotNow, to share insights that will help others and learn from some of the other fantastic organisations in the coalition.”

FutureDotNow chief executive Liz Williams added: “Many organisations can learn from M&S and the way it has gone about training its people. We are building a coalition that is not only making clear there is a job to be done digitally upskilling the nation, its members are helping each other do this.”

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