Giving back to close the digital skills gap in the Thames Valley

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AND Digital

Currently, more than 67% of companies across the UK have unfilled digital vacancies, causing the UK to lose out on £63bn a year in lost additional GDP.

This gap isn’t just a challenge for the UK – it is felt across the globe. In Europe, for example, figures show that around 37% of workers don’t have basic digital skills.

In 2014, AND Digital set out to close the world’s digital skills gap by helping companies accelerate their digital capabilities – enabling them to ship better products and build stronger teams faster.

We help close this gap directly in our client work but, as the stats indicate, it’s a wider problem and we aim to do more to address it. That means looking beyond our work to how we can support wider community groups and charities. These groups also need to put data and technology at the heart of their organisations to positively impact the communities they serve, but the reality for many is that they lack the digital skills, financial resource or opportunity.

When we opened our Reading office in 2019, we considered how best to support local organisations struggling with their digital offering. This was how we heard about Launchpad, a non-profit organisation that aims to prevent homelessness in Reading. Launchpad’s commitment to improving the lives of the homeless resonated strongly with our team, so we partnered with them to offer pro bono digital support.

The charity’s website hadn’t been updated since 2011 and was increasingly difficult to manage in-house. A site-wide rebuild began in January 2020 and, in three months, we delivered a brand new responsive, user-friendly website. We also upskilled Launchpad’s marketing team in Agile ways of working, and helped them understand how to use these to manage the project moving forward.

The timing of this work proved critical, given the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re delighted to have been able to deliver a website that improves Launchpad’s visibility online and makes it easier for them to raise the critical funds needed to support the homeless across the Thames Valley region.

Ian Caren, CEO of Launchpad, said: “Having a new website has been crucial in helping us clearly communicate any changes and updates to our operations – it has also enabled us to launch an emergency appeal to support our work during the pandemic. This would not have been as easy to do with our old website. We’re hugely grateful to the AND Digital team for the immense value they have added.”

For AND, it served as a powerful reminder of why closing the digital skills gap is so important: local charities require the agility and adaptability that technology brings to thrive in today’s fast-moving, unpredictable world.

To donate to Launchpad, please visit:

For more information, or to contact AND Digital, email or visit

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