Government announces plans to to boost digital skills for adults

a group of people work together on laptopsThe UK Government has unveiled new qualifications which it claims will help to give adults the digital skills they need to succeed in the modern world. Free courses will be offered to thousands of people to help the 1 in 5 UK adults with no or low basic digital skills learn how to thrive in an increasingly digital world. The new qualifications, unveiled by Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton, will be based on new national standards and will be available for free to anyone over the age of 19 from 2020. They have been designed to help adults learn the essential skills, such as sending emails, completing online forms or using a tablet, that many people take for granted.

Research shows that digital skills have become as important in getting a job and being part of society as English and Maths. An estimated 90 percent of all jobs in the next 20 years will require some form of digital knowledge, but one in five adults still lack these skills.

The new offer will comprise of:

  • a range of new essential digital skills qualifications, available from 2020, that will meet new conditions and requirements set by independent exams regulator Ofqual, also published today.
  • digital Functional Skills qualifications, available from 2021, that will support progression into employment or further education and develop skills for everyday life.

The new national entitlement from 2020 will fully fund adults with no or low digital skills to undertake the new qualifications. They will be supported to use digital devices like tablets, smart phones and laptop computers and to perform everyday activities like how to navigate the internet, send an email and make online payments.

The announcement follows a 12-week consultation and work with a wide range of providers, employers, subject experts, Ofqual, awarding organisations and digital inclusion charities. The announcement builds on steps already taken to drive up the government’s digital offer including making computing a statutory national curriculum subject and introducing a new Computer Science GCSE and A Level.