A NEW study by Lloyds Bank found that almost half of residents in Swindon and the wider south west region lack the essential digital skills which it claims are needed for the modern workplace.

The bank, which has three branches in the town, revealed that 47 per cent of people in the region struggled with online tasks that could help them problem solve, communicate or operate safely online when required in the workplace.

Lloyds Banking Group ambassador for the south west Stephen Noakes said: “While most people have some level of digital capability there are a significant number of residents in the south west that don’t have full essential digital skills.

"This makes it hard to access new work opportunities and keep up with friends and family.

"Of course, it can also have a huge impact in the workplace too, where there is an increasing reliance on digital capabilities.

“As part of our commitment to helping the region prosper we’re launching a digital academy later this summer to help residents across the south west to learn new digital skills and unlock the benefits that being online can bring.”

The results come from the latest Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index which also found that, nationally, workers with digital skills earn on average £12,500 more per year than those without.

Outside of the workplace one in five people around Wiltshire and the wider region struggled with tasks like changing settings on a device, connecting to WiFi and updating passwords.

Around 13 per cent of people surveyed had little or no digital skills and classified themselves as digitally disengaged, which is slightly higher than the national UK average of 12 per cent.

The research found that 28 per cent of residents lack confidence in their digital skills and a further 8 per cent of people in the region are completely offline. Almost three quarters of the people not online said that privacy concerns stop them accessing the internet.

Workers in manufacturing jobs have the lowest level of digital skills, just 36 per cent, compared to 80 per cent of employees in the finance, insurance and property sectors.