Summiting the Digital Skills Gap in the Public Sector

Summiting the Digital Skills Gap in the Public Sector


The story behind my passion for education and why I want to help public sector marketing pros bridge the digital skills gap and change the world one digital message at a time


Why education is my driving force

When I was growing up, my punishment was not being allowed to go to school. Yes, you read that sentence correctly. It may seem like a child’s dream, but it was my nightmare. I cried when I was not allowed to go to school, because I enjoyed going to school more than anything in my life back then.

It’s no surprise then that education has been a strong feature of my personal and business life to date. I love to learn and I love to teach.

Education gave me freedom – independence as a single mother at 17 years of age, independence as a married woman, independence when the waves of the global crash hit Ireland – it’s been my saviour, over and over again.

I want to be able to give this freedom, in whatever form, to my clients. My life-long learning journey is ongoing. I learn, practice and teach every single day in digital communications. As a former journalist, PR practitioner and lecturer, my digital and social media skills come with a wealth of hugely complementary experience.


The pace of digital change has over-taken knowledge transfer leaving a digital skills gap

The world we now live in, is changing faster than we can say digital transformation. Legislation cannot keep up with the pace of the fourth industrial revolution, nor can industry, academia or politics. Every single sector you can think of is being disrupted.

This lighting speed of technological change is also impacting skills and knowledge and has created a massive vacuum.

So what can we do to tame the tide of change, if you want to ride the wave?

I believe we must up skill, transition and embrace change with both hands, until the digital skills gap is a thing of the past.

Right now, there is a global digital skills gap. In Europe, 22% of workers may not have the right digital skills to keep up with developments in their jobs, according to the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

digital Skills gap

Humans in command of digital transformation

Algorithms have changed every facet of the world. Augmented reality and virtual reality are becoming part of our every day, voice is becoming more dominant and predictive analytics know consumers better than we know ourselves.

But according to Ulrich Samm, co-rapporteur of the report, EU concepts for transition management in a digitalised world of work, the importance of the human-in-command principle is vital.

“Modernisation is in our hands: we decide what the world should look like, what our environment should look like, what technologies we want to use.”

While modernisation is in our hands we must take that gift and run with it. Senior leaders in Government and public sector marketing pros must equip staff and modernise policy. Elections are forever transformed, as is the balance of power.

The power tug-of-war is being won by citizens. Anti-social-media commentators blame the networks for populism and fake news. Trust me, some of this statement is true. But I believe the greater conversation to be had is about seeing global, government and institutional leaders actually leading out when it comes to digital communications.

I always begin my digital workshops or presentations with one key message.

“Leave your personal biases at the door. Your personal view has no place in the boardroom of civic society.”

Too often I hear uneducated and disinterested leaders dissing social media, real-time communications and digital transformation as a ‘waste of time’ and ‘not important’.


JSB’s summit to the peak of digital communications for public sector

When I decided to take on the mantle of organising a Summit on digital communications for public sector marketing pros, it could be argued I had no business putting my nose in.

JSB Diploma Launches Diploma in Digital Communications in the Public Sector
JSB Diploma Launches Diploma in Digital Communications in the Public Sector

Who is JSB to claim any right to this sector? After all, I’ve not worked in the public sector, how do I know the pains and gains?

When I went further and launched a Diploma, I felt even more burdened. Isn’t your accreditation from a university? These are the sentiments of old thinking. These were the negative thoughts I even had myself. I waited for permission to step in and raise up the digital skills capacity in the public sector.

I knew I could create a solution to build confidence, character and competence in the world of digital for public servants and Government staff. There was a gap and having identified it, it was my responsibility as an entrepreneur to fill it.

As I look forward to teaching the first cohort of students in the Diploma in Digital Communications for Public Sector, I think ahead to scaling digital knowledge across the globe, the digital skills gap exists not just in the developed world but in the developing world.

Elections, referenda, public consultation, public services, politics and more require greater transparency and trust. After all, trust is the number one currency in the Digital Age.

Got questions?

Every single question we have received to date, and continue to receive are answered on our FAQ section of our website. So make sure you check that. If there is a question we haven’t answered, or if you would simply like to speak directly – then get in touch.

If you want to have a conversation with me about digital transformation in your public sector or Government agency, are interested in taking the Diploma in Digital Communicait0ns for Public Sector, or have a case study in digital communications from your Government agency, please get in touch.

Simply email [email protected] and put your query in the subject line.

Join our free closed Facebook Group to connect with like-minded peers and follow our Twitter account @PublicSectorPro.

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