THE GOVERNMENT’S digital adviser has said that technology will help the UK prosper in the wake of the Brexit vote and highlighted a skills shortage in the sector.
Martha Lane Fox CBE, who launched Lastminute.com in 1998 with her former colleague and sold it for £577m in 2005, said at the Institute of Directors’ annual conference on Tuesday that although she did not vote to leave the EU, it is the opportunity the UK needs to connect with the wider world.
“We face more challenges now than we have in our lifetime…but better and more creative uses of the internet will help us prosper in the UK,” she told the audience at the Royal Albert Hall, London.
“There are 600,000 vacancies in technology and that is forecast to rise to one million in 2020.
“If we had the most highly skilled digital workforce on the planet we could fill those one million jobs and jobs around the world.”
Fox said that while the UK may not create the next Google within the next five years, “we could do something important” and urged the government to speed up its targets on improving digital infrastructure.
“We need to imagine what we want the UK to be in five or 10 years’ time,” she said.
“We need to put skills at the heart of what we do.”