ICDL Asia tackles the New Digital Divide

Zenda Tan, ICDL Asia, in the Grand Hall of ParliamentDigital Natives not workplace ready

Wellington 21 Nov 2016: In the Grand Hall of Parliament today, Zenda Tan of ICDL Asia shared insights from recent international research and Singapore’s experience with digital skills for work. Download Powerpoint (3.1 MB). She described a New Digital Divide between Lifestyle digital skills and Workplace digital skills; and showed how training and certification cuts the cost to business of “digital ignorance”.

Zenda, who is the Market Development Executive for ICDL Asia, presented the research and experience underpinning these findings:

The New Digital Divide: Lifestyle | Workplace

New Digital Divide: Lifestyle skills versus workplace skills‘Digital Natives’, who have grown up with digital technology, are often assumed by employers to have good digital skills and the Digital Natives themselves believe that they do have them. This has been called the Digital Native Fallacy – research shows otherwise. Digital Natives may be skilled in using social media (Lifestyle skills) like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, but are lacking in Workplace office productivity skills.

Perception Versus Reality: Measuring Digital Skills in Europe

94% of Austrians though their digital skills were 'average' to 'very good'. Testing showed only 39% did that well.Research in five digitally advanced European countries show that people routinely overestimate their digital workplace competency. Large-scale general population studies in Austria and Switzerland – and smaller studies of university students in Denmark, Finland and Germany – all showed significant gaps between self-assessed and objectively-tested skills levels.

  • Austria: 94% self-assessed digital skills as ‘average’ to very good’, but only 39% tested that well
  • Switzerland: 67% self-assessed as good/very good but only 31% tested that well
  • Research into university students’ skills show many Digital Natives do not have good digital skills

Singapore study shows cost of IT ignorance

A study of 513 working professionals revealed

  • 2.5 hours/person/week spent on ICT problems
  • Average S$2,358 wasted/employer/week (NZ$2,367 approx)
  • 26 minutes/person/week (17%) was saved after just one ICDL module

Singapore experience: ICDL cuts costs, gives benefits

ICDL Asia’s experience is that investment in digital workplace skills pays off with:

Corporate benefits

  • increased productivity
  • cost savings
  • improved recruitment selection
  • smoother adoption of new technologies

Society benefits

  • enhanced employment
  • ensure workforce competitiveness
  • builds foundation for the future economy

Corporate Endorsement

Finance Healthcare Manufacturing Others
DBS Bank Singapore General Hospital Global Foundries National University of Singapore
Monetary Authority of Singapore Changi Hospital Panasonic Comfort Delgo
Credit Suisse Tan Tock Seng Hospital Hitachi SMRT
Maybank Parkway Group Dupont MediaCorp
Citibank Infineon AIA
BNP Paribas Fuji Xerox Neptune Orient Lines
Standard Chartered Bank M Hotel Singapore

And many others…

ICDL adopted and endorsed by Singapore workplace developers and employers

In Singapore ICDL is recognised by the national qualifications body (WDA) with the support of the employers’ federation (SNEF) and the trade unions (NTUC).

Singaporeans seeking to upskill receive funding support (as much as 95%) from the government’s Workforce Development Agency.

ICDL in New Zealand

In New Zealand, the 2020 Trust is the accredited ICDL National Partner.  Laurence Millar, Interim Executive Director of the 2020 Trust spoke briefly about ICDL in New Zealand.

“The 2020 Trust has over 80 training partners delivering ICDL programmes in New Zealand, with over 2,000 people currently registered for ICDL training.  Maintaining participant engagement to completion is a challenge and we have found that classroom facilitated training and certification works better than pure online training   Free ICDL training is offered to jobseekers through our KiwiSkills programme.”

“We are also finding that partnering with schools for ICDL certifications works well as students can not only earn NCEA Level 2 credits but also gain practical digital skills, helping them to be more work-ready.”

During her visit,  Zenda Tan and the 2020 Trust met with senior government officials and business leaders in Auckland and Wellington. Zenda also gave two presentations on ‘Building a Digital Workforce: The Singapore Experience‘ to invited audiences in Auckland and Wellington.

More information

Download ‘Building a Digital Workforce: The Singapore Experience’ (Powerpoint, 3.1 MB)

Perception and Reality: Measuring Digital Skills in Europe (ECDL website)

2020 Trust’s KiwiSkills website

2020 Trust’s ICDL website

email Laurence Millar, Interim Executive Director