The UK government is planning to offer free digital skills lessons to improve computer literacy levels across the nation. Anyone over the age of 19 will be allowed to take advantage of free lessons starting next year.
Essential skills, including writing emails, completing online forms and using a tablet, will all explored and courses will be set against national standards. The vast majority of jobs are already dependent on these skills, but within the next 20 years nine out of ten jobs will require them. Despite this drive for digital knowledge, one in five adults still fall below the required level of competency.
Anne Milton, the apprenticeship and skills minister, recognises that digital skills are extremely important and is keen to see people of all ages able to use digital skills to better both their everyday lives and their working lives. A lack in digital skills affects every aspect of life, from applying to job roles to contacting family and friends.
The skills courses, which provide recognised qualifications, will meet requirements determined by independent exams regulator Ofqual. They will be fully funded for those who have low or no digital skills and will incorporate the use of laptops, tablets and smart phones, preparing learners to complete tasks such as sending emails and making online payments.
The Department for Education has stated that education providers funded through the Adult Education Budget by the Education and Skills Funding Agency or combined mayoral or Greater London authorities will be able to deliver the qualifications. These providers will also consider whether a classroom, online or blended approach will be the best way to deliver them.