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Bridging digital skills gap 'worth £22bn a year' for industry

Digital skills

Embracing digital transformation could be worth £22bn a year to the infrastructure sector, according to a new report by the Infrastructure Client Group (ICG).

Bridging the skills gap has been identified as “one of the biggest challenges” to the industry, in the report led by Mott MacDonald and ICE’s Project 13 Digital Transformation workstream.

In total, the report concludes that digital transformation could release £22bn a year by 2030.

Assessing the “digital maturity”, or Industry Ready Level (IRL), of 13 companies – including Heathrow Airport, High Speed 2 Ltd and Scottish Water – the report outlines the industry’s “readiness for digital transformation”.

In particular, the report said that “digital transformation requires a whole new set of skils” to be applied to industry.

“As one of the lowest scoring sections of the whole assessment, digital capability clearly presents a significant challenge. Many owners don’t understand their skills gaps and fail to bring digital into training or recruitment,” the report says.

“Digital transformation requires a whole new set of skills and behaviours, cutting across all personnel from executives to technicians.

“The disruption caused by rapid development of new technologies makes digital agility and upskilling vital – attributes that are highly transferable from other sectors.”

The report adds: “Suppliers must form new partnerships, spanning disciplines that have historically worked in isolation, and we all need to understand and accept our personal responsibility for information security as we have for health, safety and welfare.”

The IRL has been developed as a measure of digital maturity across six broad themes – reflecting the impact of digital transformation on all parts of the business: customers; leadership; commercial; capability; asset delivery; and asset management.

The report covers the energy, transport, and water sectors, including existing asset owners and major project organisations.

“The digital transformation of infrastructure could deliver more than £22bn in value to the UK economy each year by 2030,” the report concludes. “To achieve this economic benefit, organisations need to embed digital at the very centre of corporate strategy, becoming ‘information businesses’ with a culture of digital agility and innovation.

“This requires bold leadership and a belief that digital transformation is fundamental to long-term success.”

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