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Plans launched to boost digital skills for adults

Free courses will be offered to thousands of people to help the 1 in 5 adults with no or low basic digital skills learn how to thrive in an increasingly digital world. 

  • Staff Reporter
  • April 23, 2019
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The new qualifications, unveiled by Apprenticeship and Skills Minister Anne Milton, will be based on new, rigorous 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% of all jobs in the next 20 years will require some form of digital knowledge, but one in five adults still lack these skills.

"I want people of all ages to have the skills and confidence they need for work and everyday life," Anne Milton said.

"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," Ms Milton added. 

Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, Margot James, explained that the new entitlement will give everyone the opportunity to participate in an increasingly digital world and take advantage of digital technology.

"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," Ms James said.

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. 

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