Access to digital skills; Insights Paper 2

Published: 21/04/2022

Author(s): Other

Access to Digital Skills Insight Paper 2: Who is left behind? Which marginalised groups are struggling to bridge the digital divide? Catch22 and Nominet April 2022

Key takeaways:

The second paper seeks to identify who is at the most significant risk of being left behind and which marginalised groups are most impacted by the four barriers to digital access and skills that were identified in the first paper. Through conducting a series of focus groups across Catch22 services, the research forefronts the voices and experiences of young people through the lens of digital disadvantage. These interviews included young people who are care leavers, those in contact or at risk of contact with the justice system, those in special educational settings and those in mainstream further educational settings.


Who is being most impacted? Poverty and digital opportunity are inextricably linked. When asked who was left behind, young interviewees first cited those without reliable access. Research from The Learning and Work Institute shows that one in five (21%) households from lower socio-economic groups with children have no access to an appropriate device. However, despite the prominence that our interviewers gave poverty, there is still widespread disagreement on the scale of the issue and a lack of data on the link between poverty and digital opportunity. This means the problem is still poorly understood and the nuance of those most affected is missed. Lack of physical space is a crucial barrier to digital access. In the focus groups, teachers and young people regularly referred to the challenges of accessing space to digitally learn or work. This may be having the physical space to work or needing to share devices or broadband. This challenge is exacerbated in households with high numbers


Literature Review and/or Policy Proposal


Catch22; Nominet; Bean Research

This paper is the second in a series of four papers developed by Catch22 and Nominet to explore the barriers to digital skills and access for some of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK. These insights will inform recommendations, which will support Catch22 and Nominet in tackling systemic inequality, whilst directly responding to grassroots need.