Skills and knowledge
Creating opportunities for people and businesses to learn, understand, and share their skills and knowledge will help everyone make best use of digital technologies and ensure communities in Devon become more resilient and thrive.
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Creating opportunities to learn and grow
A skilled and knowledgeable community
We want to help people and communities to gain the skills and confidence they need to benefit from the opportunities that improved connectivity and new digital offers will create. To help, we will:
- promote the benefits of digital solutions, online information and advice
- encourage community-based training and digital champions
- help people find training or education opportunities to suit them
- support people and their families in using assistive technology
- share our own in-house skills and knowledge with community partners
Supporting digital skills training in the community
We work with organisations like Cosmic who are a community-based social enterprise offering digital skills training and support to individuals, communities and businesses across Devon in order to raise awareness, improve digital knowledge and drive take-up.
Developing and promoting online resources
We are actively developing and promoting sources of online information and tools such as Pinpoint – a directory of local community services and support – to help people and their families find the support they need to live the life they choose at home.
Tools to help people live more independently
Assistive technology is increasingly being considered as a useful tool to help vulnerable people to live more independently and safely at home. Part of building confidence in the technology is the support we give to users and their families to help them use and get the most out of what is on offer.
Many people in Devon are disadvantaged because they lack the most basic digital skills. Through our volunteering project ‘Devon Digital Lives’, we’re challenging that by calling on and supporting our staff to pass on their knowledge.
If you’re a Devon County Council member of staff or a Devon County Councillor and you’d like to find out more about Devon Digital Lives or about becoming a Devon Digital Lives volunteer, or you’re a volunteering or community organisation and you think our volunteers can help you, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Watch the video of Emily McCauley (Manager of Exeter Library) – telling us about how digital volunteers at Devon Libraries are improving lives.
Applying digital thinking to everyday problems and embracing innovation
Understanding the opportunities that digital creates and knowing when a digital solution can help make someone’s life easier or better is essential. We want to encourage innovation and support our staff, communities and businesses in this journey. We can do this by:
- building a network of expert suppliers that can be used to support local innovation and enterprise
- growing our own in-house skills, knowledge and capacity to help advise and support future developments
- encouraging partners and businesses to join in collaborative exercises to help develop practical new digital solutions to shared problems
- supporting learning and knowledge hubs
- sharing infrastructure and platforms where appropriate
Knowledge Transfer Partnerships
In order for our businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity, high-calibre graduates and academics from our county are partnered up with businesses looking for expertise in certain fields such as digital to help foster growth and innovation.
Attracting digital businesses to Devon
Maistro (formerly the Blur Group) is an online marketplace for digital and creative industry suppliers. The AI-driven Marketplace matches business need with the right suppliers and offers an alternative and more agile approach to specialist service procurement including access to a wide range of experts in web and e-commerce, app development, data management , digital marketing, etc.
Bringing digital principles to life and working in agile ways
To realise the benefits of digital technology requires us to work in a different way. Accessible, flexible, and adaptable are some of the benefits that digital brings. We need to learn how to live and work in ways that leverage these benefits and create opportunities where people and communities can grow and adapt in a fast changing, digital world. To support this we will:
- be prepared to change the way we work
- support a culture of innovation, challenge and exploration
- give our staff the tools to work more flexibly and to develop their own creative digital solutions
- ensure the highest digital standards in all procurement
- invest in technology and share our infrastructure and platforms to support wider innovation
Embracing flexible working
New mobile equipment and Office 365 has been rolled out to all County Council staff. This is supporting more flexible working arrangements and greater home-working by allowing staff to securely log in to their e-mail, documents and key back-office systems from anywhere. At the same time, there have been great improvements in communication through Skpe and instant messaging.
Helping our frontline staff assess and report in real time
Handheld devices and other mobile equipment is helping our frontline staff such as social workers or road engineers to make case notes, conduct assessments and report activity in real time. This makes life easier for staff, cuts down on administration time and speeds up our processes. It can also help provide more accurate live information for example on the status of reported road defect.
Developing a skilled local workforce (including within the Council)
Digital technologies offer huge opportunities to improve and innovate the products and services offered by the council and businesses in Devon. Developing a highly skilled local workforce ensures these opportunities can be maximised. To help do this we will:
- work with, and learn from the best
- create an environment where we can attract and retain the best people
- support the development of more training and education opportunities including through regional schemes
- support the development of knowledge hubs and innovation networks so everyone can share knowledge and learn from each other
- share information and intelligence using open data
Promoting innovation and knowledge-based businesses
Exeter Science Park is supporting the development of knowledge-based businesses, capitalising on links with the University of Exeter, the new University of Exeter Medical School, the Met Office and Rothamsted Research.
Supporting innovative business to access wider opportunities
The Innovation Centre situated at the heart of the University of Exeter, provides a home to 84 knowledge based organisations undertaking research and development. They provide business and technology support services, access to wider networks like SETsquared, a partnership between Exeter, Bath, Bristol, Southampton and Surrey universities, and the Exeter Initiative for Science and Technology.