By Daniel Hunter

Sir Richard Branson last night (Thursday) highlighted the importance of digital skills to the future of the UK economy at a meeting with the Digital Youth Council — the panel of tech-savvy young people established by Virgin Media Business.

The entrepreneur said that digital know-how is one of the most valuable things they will take with them on leaving school, and that pupils like them are not being consulted enough by the Government on how these skills are taught in school.

Virgin Media Business founded the panel of eight 9-17 year-olds in November 2014 as part of Generation Tech — a nationwide review of how technology is shaping education.

Sir Richard presented each of the members with a certificate recognising their contribution to the Council, as well as speaking to them about how they believe technology can help them achieve their future ambitions.

The members also met to develop the Big Ask — an idea to encourage Government and businesses to work collaboratively to ready students for the digitally driven business world they will enter on leaving school.

Sir Richard Branson said: “Britain is a digital leader, however our businesses will fall behind if students leave school without vital digital skills. Much is being done by the Government to address this, but we need to make sure that the views of tech-savvy pupils aren’t overlooked. The Digital Youth Council is a great example of how we can harness the skills and views of young people and create digitally savvy entrepreneurs of the future.”

Peter Kelly, Managing Director, Virgin Media Business, said: “The Digital Youth Council has done some exciting things in its first three months of existence — speaking out on key issues, developing recommendations for Government and even designing their own digital innovations. As a major player within education, we hope others in the sector will sit up and take note of its conclusions, recognising that they speak for students in classrooms around the country.”