Dept for Education to offer free courses for adults to boost digital skills

digital skillsImage: Department for Education to help adults boost digital skills through free courses. Photo: courtesy of LordHarris/English Wikipedia.

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that it will offer free courses to thousands of Brits to empower them with the digital skills they need.

The department estimates that the courses will help one in five adults who have zero or low basic skills to prosper in an otherwise increasingly digital world.

The new qualifications offered under the programmes will be based on rigorously created national standards and will be available free of cost from 2020 to interested citizens, aged over 19.

Research reveals that digital skills have become as significant as English and Maths in securing a job and for being part of society.

According to the DfE, an estimated 90% of all jobs in the coming 20 years will need some form of digital knowledge. However, 20% of adults in the UK are said to be lagging behind in the skills.

The free courses to be offered to such adults will be designed to help them pick up the essential skills such as emailing, completing online forms or using a tablet that several people take for granted.

UK Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said: “I want people of all ages to have the skills and confidence they need for work and everyday life.

“Being online is more important than ever and yet one in five adults in the UK don’t have the basic digital skills that many of us take for granted. This is cutting many people off from so many opportunities – from accessing new jobs, further study and being able to stay in touch with friends and family.”

The new offer from the department will cover a variety of new essential skills qualifications to be available from 2020 that will meet new conditions and requirements defined by independent exams regulator Ofqual.

Also, the department said that digital functional skills qualifications to be available from 2021 will support progression into employment or further education and develop skills for everyday life.

The participants in the new national entitlement will be supported by the government to use digital devices such as tablets, smart phones and laptops and to carry out daily activities, including navigating the internet, sending an email and making online payments.

UK Digital and the Creative Industries Minister Margot James said: “Implementation of the new entitlement will be complemented by the work of our Digital Skills Partnership to boost digital skills at all levels – from the essential digital skills that support inclusion, to the digital skills we increasingly need for work, right through to the advanced digital skills required for specialist roles.”

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