Computer programmer

James Lane: Building digital skills for the future

Employees across the country are eager to employ people with digital skills and James Lane, Digital Sector Manager at NCFE is ready for the challenge.

He is part of the panel discussion, Addressing the Skills Gap at PSE365’s Learning & Development virtual event on Wednesday 9 June.

Speaking to PSE, Mr Larne said he is going to focus on the following three areas:

  • Recognising digital as a functional skill: Looking at digital skills being essential and not just something that is nice to have or on a job specification, but something that employees need to have.
  • Digital as a function that should make something better: Discussing why technology interlinks with everything, should something be digital, i.e. does it make it efficient and the right/best thing to do, as well as discussing ethics.
  • Looking at infrastructure: Discussing ultrafast broadband and acknowledging that some people do not have the connectivity to get online, due to a lack of accessibility and geographical constraints etc, something he says need to be discussed.

He says there needs to be a skills based focus when it comes to technology and mentioned the government’s Essential Digital Skills qualifications.

He links this to his employer NCFE, an educational charity and awarding organisation that was established 1848 and focusses on technical education.

The organisation works with learners from the of age 14 through to adults and sets standards and chooses the curriculum, which Mr Lane said is to ‘add the meat to the bones’ of the framework.

Mr Lane who has worked at NCFE for a year, mentions their focus on vocational education, including the charity’s V Cert Technical Awards.

Commenting on NCFE, he said: “We are just as proud that we’re a charitable organisation and so we don’t just create the qualifications, we also lobby for change.

“That’s something that is sort of core to our purpose and as a charity we have a commitment to always advance learning for any learners who want to succeed.”

Mr Lane also said that NCFE develop their qualifications in collaboration with employers, ranging from sole traders to multinational corporations.

Focussing on digital, Mr Lane asks them what an exciting employee looks like, as well as a great qualification.

He added: “It’s a very collaborative approach, we want to make sure that what we’re developing, as far as a qualification or an accredited solution, is going to be well received and is hopefully really exciting for the sector.

“Not just being forced upon them and saying ‘this is how you’ve got to do it’, we’re flipping the tables and saying ‘what do you want the future to look like’ and we’ll develop the qualifications to match.”


Listen to John and a host of other expert speakers at our PSE365 ‘Learning & Development’ virtual event on 9 June 2021. Register to attend here.

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