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Digital High Street Skills Programme launches to boost small businesses

Wednesday March 26th 2014

A new programme is being launched to help small businesses on the UK's high streets to overcome their lack of digital knowledge.

The Digital High Street Skills programme, developed by the National Skills Academy for Retail in partnership with the Association of Town and City Management, was piloted last month in Altrincham and will now be rolled out in other towns and cities across the UK over the coming months.

A recent report by Lloyds Banking Group found that 36% of small and medium sized businesses have no website and 20% have no online presence. The Digital High Street Skills programme aims to rectify the problem by providing training in digital marketing, website development and social media to help small businesses develop their online presence and grow their business through online marketing.

Jane Rexworthy, head of the National Skills Academy for Retail, explained: “The programme will show how multi-channel retailing is relevant to every size of business, and why small businesses need to take full advantage of the online opportunities that can help them to build and grow their business and ensure their long-term sustainability. We are calling on small businesses to take advantage of the government funding which is available until the end of July to support them in accessing the programme.”

Martin Blackwell, chief executive of the ATCM, added: “Just a few years ago many people were predicting that the internet would lead to the demise of the high street as we know it, yet now the opposite is proving to be true. Businesses which are engaging digitally with their customers are performing better than their offline competition, and in a trend that is great for retail up and down the country, we are seeing businesses use their online presence to attract consumers to their physical outlets on the high street.”