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Nation report on digital making
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Research into digital making

We mapped the organisations that provide training and learning opportunities to young people in digital making. Our findings contributed to a State of the Nation report on digital making.

Richard Naylor

Director, Research

Richard is a world leading expert in research methodologies for the culture and the creative industries, having been an early innovator in the development of frameworks for measuring the economic and social impacts of cultural activities.

Richard Naylor - Director, Research | BOP Consulting

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Projects Sectors

The internet now contributes roughly 8 per cent of the UK’s GDP – the highest of the G20 countries. 

But ten million of the UK’s population lack basic digital skills and seven million have never used the internet. Only 30 per cent of small businesses make effective use of the internet for marketing and sales, despite the UK being home to the highest percentage of online shoppers in Europe. Only one of the world’s top 100 websites – the BBC – is British (despite the web being invented by a Brit). And 90 per cent of new jobs require digital know–how. 

The lack of digital skills in the UK needs addressing as soon as possible. The report commissioned by Nesta and produced by BOP reveals just how much is already happening, from the work of coding clubs to activities in the school curriculum to developments in online tools. But the gaps are more striking than the successes, amplifying existing inequalities and hierarchies rather than empowering more people. 

London, for example, has the best provision, but rural areas are being left behind. Many girls are defying stereotypes – but far too many are not engaging, and the gap in confidence between boys and girls is widening. Without radical steps, we won’t change the woeful numbers of women working in the tech sector, which currently stands at 17 per cent.

A huge expansion is needed if we are to grow a nation of digital creators who can manipulate and build the technology that both society and industry are increasingly reliant on. This expansion cannot be left exclusively to professionals, however, as we simply don’t have enough of them. It will require the mobilisation of enthusiasts and interested amateurs, from parents and non–expert teachers, to those working in the tech industry, working and learning alongside young people to help meet this demand. Encouragingly, almost two–thirds of parents and carers say they are interested in participating in digital making.


From our research we derived the following key recommendations:

  • The high levels of interest in digital making amongst young people and parents need to be capitalised on further

  • Young people need to be supported as digital makers across the UK, not just in London and areas that have high provision

  • Non–professionals – such as volunteers, parents, teachers, and young people themselves – need to be mobilised

  • There needs to be greater access to a variety of making opportunities catering for a wider variety of young people and their different interests, ages and genders

  • Clear pathways to excellence should be built to grow young people’s ambitions as digital makers and help them fulfil their potential, in and out of school

  • Schools must exploit their potential as a hub for digital making opportunities, work with informal learning organisations, raise parents’ awareness and recruit volunteers

  • Digital making organisations need to be supported to grow sustainably through new and existing partnerships with grassroots organisations and private companies

To learn more about the methodology, findings, and implications download the full report below.

We mapped the organisations that provide training and learning opportunities to young people in digital making. Our findings contributed to a State of the Nation report on digital making.

Project Report

Young Digital Makers – Surveying attitudes and opportunities for digital creativity across the UK

Building on our contribution to the second edition of the report in 2018, BOP has led as the Data and Research partner on this report to help find out how policies can protect people working in the creative and cultural sectors.

UNESCO's Re|Shaping Policies for Creativity Report – Addressing culture as a global public good


Our strategy will guide the creation of a new digital service aiming at supporting and developing the creative scene in Downtown Kingston.

Leveraging the creative potential of Downtown Kingston through technology

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

Our research into the UK's high streets found that 69% of people think culture on their high street makes their area a better place to live.

Culture: The cornerstone of the UK’s high streets

Arts Council England

BOP’s updated Handbook for the Inter-American Development Bank sets out strategies for sustainability and urban resilience

Creative and Cultural Industries and Urban Revitalisation in the post-COVID era

Inter-American Development Bank - IDB

We investigated the potential impact of AI on the cultural and creative industries.

Opportunities and Challenges of AI for the Cultural and Creative Industries

European Commission

Published today: ‘Design for Good: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards’, a new publication from the RSA, co-authored by BOP

A History of Bright Ideas: 90 Years of the RSA Student Design Awards

The Royal Society for Arts (RSA)

New skills research in the Gulf Co-operation Council States

An evidence-base for the growing Gulf festivals sector

British Council

Our research into the museum workforce is launched

Conscientiousness, optimism, and curiosity

Museums Galleries Scotland

BOP’s report for Nanjing City Government demonstrates the importance of cross-cutting policies with a compelling cultural offer at the core

Creating Healthy Night-time Economies in World Cities

Nanjing Creative Center

Findings from our work at Great Ormond Street Hospital

Creativity in health settings


How is China influencing the future of Cultural Tourism?

Cultural Infrastructure for the 21st Century

Chengdu Media Group

Based on our impact analysis we estimate $750 billion in lost GVA for the CCI as a result of the pandemic so far.

Economic impact of COVID-19 on the Cultural and Creative Industries


Our analysis of the strengths & challenges of music in the Midlands is published

Hitting the right notes in the Midlands

Arts Council England

New handbook published for city leaders

How can cities make space for culture?

World Cities Culture Forum (WCCF)

Our report sheds new light on how building the capacity of the heritage sector can assist working internationally

International working builds stronger heritage sector at home

National Lottery Heritage Fund

Our new report with Nesta published

Opportunities for China-UK Cooperation through Equity Crowdfunding


Our new research report for the National Trust

Protect urban heritage to prevent growth in inequality

National Trust

Our latest research for the Reading Agency shows we should read year-round

Reading is for life, not just for August

The Reading Agency

Our review of the Scottish Animation Sector, commissioned by Creative Scotland, has just been published

Review of the Scottish Animation Sector

Creative Scotland

UK-wide study of visitor experience practice provides new benchmarks for cultural and visitor attractions

Sharing Operations and Visitor Experience insight


Related Projects

Research, Data and Insight

Richard Naylor - Director, Research | BOP Consulting

Richard Naylor

Director, Research