BOURNEMOUTH is being targeted in a £1.3million initiative funded by JP Morgan to deliver digital skills training to those who most need it.

The investment bank – the town’s biggest private sector employer – is behind Power Up, an initiative to help people in “under-served” communities build the skills they need to qualify for in-demand jobs.

It says there is a “deep divide” between those who have digital skills and confidence and those who do not.

It is working in partnership with Good Things Foundation, a charity specialising in digital skills among socially excluded groups, which will deliver the programme.

Power Up will support activity in Bournemouth, East London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, all of which are local to JP Morgan’s biggest UK operations.

Staff in those areas will invest time in supporting community organisations who deliver digital training.

Data from Ofcom shows a 17 per cent gap in internet use between adults in high and low socio-economic groups.

Among people with no digital skills, 46 per cent earn less than £17,499 a year.

People with basic digital skills can expect a lifetime increase in their average earnings of 2.8 per cent.

Helen Milner chief executive of Good Things Foundation, said: “The world we’re living in is changing rapidly, and although digital has the power to revolutionise both our lives and our work, many people are being left behind.

“That’s why we’re delighted to be working with JP Morgan to deliver a new kind of initiative that will change how digital skills support is delivered.

“JP Morgan’s corporate responsibility mission is to enable more people to contribute to and share in the rewards of a growing economy, so that’s why working with them is such a great fit.

“This initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of the people we’re supporting, and I know the learnings will have a long term impact on the sector, and the way digital skills support is delivered.”

Power Up aims to improve digital skills, motivation and confidence in three key areas: jobs and skills; financial health; and small business support.

It will harness research by Good things Foundation, which says more needs to be done urgently to bridge the digital divide.

It says governments should embed digital skills in major initiatives on jobs, financial health and business support, rather than seeing it them as a “bolt-on”.

Power Up is inviting applications from groups or programmes which can deliver digital training.

Applicants should already be experts in providing community-based, person-centred support to people on local incomes, or providing support to small businesses. They should be looking to embed digital skills more fully – or to extend their offer where they have a proven track record of embedding digital skills in their support.