Government launches ‘The Skills Toolkit’

Government launches ‘The Skills Toolkit’

A new online learning platform was launched today by Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, to help people while they are asked to stay at home.

The Skills Toolkit is made up of free online resources to help improve digital and numeracy skills to and allows furloughed employees in particular the opportunity to keep up their skills development while at home. Digital courses include tools for using email and social media more effectively at work, to creating online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage, as well as Open University courses. All courses are free, online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace.

The internet is being used increasingly across all areas of life as technology offers a number of benefits to the individual which those who are digitally excluded miss out on, such as online shopping, banking, medical appointments. These skills are needed more than ever in the current climate. In terms of earnings and employability benefits, the Skills Funding Agency’s research estimates that within the next 10 to 20 years, 90% of jobs will require some sort of digital skills. Research by Lloyds Bank estimates that half of those online indicated that the internet had helped them find a job.

This also highlights that the digitally excluded will be increasingly at a disadvantage unless they are specifically catered for. The ONS published a report which stated that there were still 5.3 million adults in the UK (10% of the adult UK population) who were non-internet users, i.e. had never used the internet or hadn’t used it in the three months prior. BSG commissioned ComRes to look at reasons for digital exclusion. A significant proportion (around 70%) said they didn’t know how to use or didn’t have the skills to use the internet. Many tended to see it as too complicated or difficult to learn. The BSG welcomes all steps being taken by Government to bridge the gap and get people online.

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