Report highlights impact of digital exclusion on regional access to education and employment

A report published by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (North East LEP) has highlighted the impact digital exclusion in the North East is having on people’s ability to access education, develop skills and gain employment.

Commissioned by the North East LEP’s Skills Advisory Panel (SAP), Digital Exclusion in the North East LEP area looks at the economic and skills-related impacts of digital exclusion in County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland.

Published alongside IPPR North’s Addressing digital exclusion in North East England research paper, the report was carried out by New Skills Consulting. Using data from the Office for National Statistics, it shows more than 200,000 people in the LEP area have either never used the internet, or have not used it in the last three months. It also reinforces existing findings that show people from disadvantaged backgrounds are most affected by digital exclusion.

Digital Exclusion in the North East LEP area highlights that while the coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital adoption, it has also widened the gap in areas like education and employment, particularly for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. A lack of in-person support during the pandemic has made it easier for people to withdraw, and limited access to digital devices has prevented people from accessing online training, job searches, and interviews.

Read the executive summary of the report at the LEP's North East Evidence Hub.