Apprenticeship and skills minister Anne Milton has announced that adults with few or no digital skills will to be given access to a new suite of free courses.
The offer will comprise a range of new “essential digital skills” qualifications, available from 2020, as well as digital functional skills qualifications, planned from 2021.
According to the government, one in five adults has few or no basic digital skills. The courses will be designed to support progression into employment or further education and develop skills for everyday life.
The announcement follows a 12-week consultation, which closed in January. A list of the eligible qualifications has not yet been revealed, but the DfE said it would be released “in advance of introducing the entitlement in 2020”.
“In order that we fund only those adults who do not have secure basic digital skills, we plan to require providers to implement an initial assessment as part of the [adult education budget] funding and performance rules for basic digital skills,” the original consultation document stated. “Providers will need to carry out a thorough initial assessment to determine an individual’s current skills level using an assessment tool based on the new national basic digital skills standards.”
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.
“I am thrilled to launch the new ‘essential digital skills’ qualifications which will give adults the chance to develop a whole host of new skills to help get ahead in work, but also to improve their quality of life overall.”