The Department for Education has launched a web page that signposts people to free courses that can develop their digital and numeracy skills during lockdown.
‘The Skills Toolkit’ directs visitors to a suite of programmes such as Everyday Maths and Learn to Code for Data Analysis run by the Open University, and Get Certified in the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing by the Google Digital Garage.
Thirteen free courses are listed from the various organisations that created them over the past few years (full list below).
The DfE said the courses develop the skills which are “highly valued” by employers and are ideal for use by workers placed on furlough during the coronavirus pandemic.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the free courses “will help those whose jobs have been affected by the [Covid-19] outbreak, and people looking to boost their skills while they are staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
“I want businesses to encourage their furloughed employees to use The Skills Toolkit to improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak.”
Digital secretary Oliver Dowden added that technology is “going to play a hugely important role in our economic recovery” and the courses “will help ensure everyone is able to improve their digital skills and take advantage of the opportunities ahead”.
Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the Confederation of British Industry, agreed that online learning is a “great way for people to upgrade their skills at any time, but never more so than during a lockdown”.
“The toolkit’s heavy emphasis on the skills that businesses need are welcome,” he added.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a similar tool yesterday for those in Scotland. Their new library of online courses includes offers from 12 providers and can be found on Skills Development Scotland’s My World of Work site.
Sturgeon said: “In the coming weeks and months we’ll expand the number of courses available by working with colleges and universities.”
The 13 free online courses on The Skills Toolkit