Online platform ‘The Skills Toolkit’ will help people to build their skills during the coronavirus outbreak and beyond.
A new online learning platform to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home, has been launched today (28 April) by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.
Free courses are available through a new online platform hosted on the gov.uk website, called The Skills Toolkit. The new platform gives people access to free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.
These are the skills which are highly valued by employers and sought after in a wide range of jobs. With more people expected to be working and studying remotely in the coming months, the platform offers a great opportunity to learn new skills to help to get ahead online and gain the knowledge we’ll all need for the future. The platform also offers employees who have been furloughed an opportunity to keep up their skills development while they are at home.
Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work to more advanced training. Individuals will be able to access courses helping them to create great online content developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, to understand the Fundamentals of Digital Marketing from Google Digital Garage and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University. All courses are online and flexible, so people can work through them at their own pace.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
I know how difficult the recent months have been and the huge changes the coronavirus has brought on the daily lives of us all.
The high-quality and free to access courses on offer on our new online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit, will help those whose jobs have been affected by the 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.
The Skills Toolkit is designed to help people gain new skills while they are staying at home and boost their confidence. The courses have been selected on the advice of experts and leading employers to make sure they meet the needs of business, not just for today but in the future. This is just a first step towards assisting with the longer-term recovery to boost employability across the country, helping people to build up the skills employers need during time spent at home.
Employers are also encouraged to use The Skills Toolkit to help to support and develop furloughed employees who are interested in learning from home.
Matthew Fell, CBI Chief UK Policy Director said:
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.
Maths and digital skills are highly prized by employers, so for those who take the chance to upskill they can help improve their job prospects and career progression. I’d encourage all businesses to make their staff aware of this learning opportunity.
The UK’s talent shortage has more than doubled since its lowest reported point in 2010 (9%), according to the latest Talent Shortage Survey by ManpowerGroup.
The Closing the Skills Gap: What UK Workers Want in 2020 survey found that 23% of UK employers were unable to find the talent they needed last year.
Skilled trades such as electricians, welders, and mechanics topped the list of most in-demand roles, with jobs in healthcare, accounting and finance, management and teaching making the top five.
According to ManpowerGroup, the companies worst affected by talent shortages were larger companies of over 250 employees, of which over half (51%) reported talent shortages.
SMEs in the survey fared much better overall in seeking skilled talent, with only 21% of businesses with less than 10 employees reporting difficulties in filling roles.
In order to stem the shortage, Chris Gray, director of Manpower Group UK, said companies need to develop internal talent.
He said: “With growing talent shortages across the UK, it’s no longer a question of simply finding talent; we need to build it. Organisations need to be agile, and willing to stretch their candidate offering, increasing salaries isn’t enough of a differentiator anymore.”
This follows the British Chambers of Commerce’s Quarterly Recruitment Outlook that linked recruitment struggles in the last quarter of 2019 to a ‘critical skills shortage’ across the country, and pinpointed construction as one of the most impacted sectors.
Michelle Nettles, chief people and culture officer at ManpowerGroup, argued that businesses need to encourage a culture of learnability.
She said: “Our ability to continuously learn is the most important skill we’ll need to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow.
“As leaders, it is our responsibility to foster a culture of learnability, which requires leaders to be coaches, increasing and accelerating career mobility and creating relevant and curated learning pathways, not one-size-fits-all.”
The survey collected the views of 1,000 employers in the UK.
UNISON has released a comprehensive report on its research into public service workers’ experiences, hopes and fears around learning, training, and the future of work.
The Skills For The Future survey was undertaken by the University of Exeter’s Marchmont Observatory on behalf of UNISON. With over 38,000 responses, the survey was the biggest of its kind, beating UNISON’s own record of 27,000 responses in its 2011 Skills For Life survey.
Survey respondents were overwhelmingly keen to learn, with half stating that training had improved the way that they did their job, and over four fifths saying that they were ready to learn new skills.
Respondents fear that they are not being provided with the training they need to keep up with advances in technology and other changes in the workplace. They are also worried about the risk of redundancy, with over a third believing that it was ‘very likely’ that their position would be made redundant within the next three years, and three fifths believing that automation is putting public sector jobs at risk.
More than one in every ten survey respondents said that a lack of skills or confidence in literacy or numeracy had stopped them applying for a promotion, taking on extra responsibilities at work, or asking to attend training.
But the research also suggested that the main problem was one of under-utilisation and that most workers had skills greater than those needed for their job, but were prevented from progressing in their careers by a lack of in-work training.
Two thirds of respondents thought that their computer and digital skills needed improving, and nearly half identified a need for training in managerial or supervisory skills.
The report has been released in the same week as the Labour Party’s commitment to paid time off for employees to access education and training, and its promise to improve careers advice for adults.
Teresa Donegan, head of learning and organising services, said, ‘The most precious asset that any employer possesses is its staff, and that’s an asset that should be invested in. We often hear what industries and employers want from the workforce. What makes this research unique is the fact that this is the voice of the workers. Staff have told us what they need. Now it’s up to the government and to employers to listen.
‘UNISON is justifiably proud of the learning we offer our members, and we support thousands of people every year through free learning opportunities. But we shouldn’t be filling the gaps left by employers shirking their responsibilities.’
Roger McKenzie, assistant general secretary, said, ‘Cuts to further education and adult education have meant that too many people are barred from progression at work and in everyday life. This research shows that it’s causing real damage.’
As businesses around the world race to upskill their workforces, City & Guilds Group warns that UK employers risk being left behind
UK employers must do more to upskill their workforces or risk lagging behind employers in other parts of the world, according to City & Guilds Group.
It surveyed 6,500 employees and 1,300 employers across 13 international markets and found significant differences in L&D investment in different parts of the globe.
The research showed that employers in developing countries with rapidly emerging economies are among the most likely to ramp up investment in upskilling their workforce in the near future, compared to developed economies such as the UK.
A significant proportion of Indian (92%) and Kenyan (78%) employers predicted a net increase in L&D investment in the next 12 months, compared to just 54% of employers in the UK.
This is concerning considering only 13% of UK employees would rate the L&D opportunities at their organisation over the past year as very effective, compared to 31% of employees in India, researchers said.
When asked about skills, 71% of employees globally recognised that the skills they need to do their job will change in the next three to five years. However, only 66% of UK workers think their employer is keeping pace with these changing skills.
UK employers had a more positive outlook, with three-quarters (75%) saying they’re confident they have the skilled staff they need for the next three to five years.
This highlights a worrying gap between employer and employee perceptions which could lead to lower retention rates, poor performance and opportunities as for employees to seek out organisations which can better meet their training needs.
John Yates, group director for corporate learning at City & Guilds Group, said the research shows that upskilling is less of a priority in the UK than he hoped.
“Businesses worldwide are navigating a period of immense transformation – and this is particularly evident in emerging economies where organisations are ramping up their investment in L&D as they embrace technology and hone the skills required to compete on a global stage.
“However, our study shows investment in skills is less of an immediate priority for employers in the UK – putting us at risk of lagging behind other, more future-focused countries,” he said.
He urged employers to listen to workers’ needs on training and development: “With the workforce becoming increasingly mobile – and the influx of overseas talent crucial to the future of British businesses – UK employers cannot afford complacency.
“Employers need to listen to their workers’ training needs and ensure they continue to focus on upskilling or risk losing talent to other markets who are making this a priority. Equipping workforces with the skills to succeed in the future is a marathon, not a sprint, but those who overlook the importance of skills investment risk dropping out of the race altogether.”
The study also found that employers in developing economies are feeling the impact of technological advances in the workplace most acutely.
While just 25% of employers in the US and 42% in the UK recognise the impact of digital transformation on their business, this rose to 65% of Kenyan and 62% of Indian employers. Equally, when it comes to automation and AI, the majority of employers surveyed in Malaysia (60%) and India (58%) found this to be a major driver of change, compared to just 27% of employers in the UK.
Paul Grainger, co-director of the centre for post-14 education and work and head of enterprise and innovation for the department of education, practice and society (EPS) at UCL, said technology can help to support the changing workforce.
“The foreseeable future is likely to be dominated by emerging digital technologies. These can help individuals and communities to grow, become more agile, develop skills and network with a wider, global community,” he said.
“As these technologies are able to transcend borders, they help organisations and the communities in which they are based to adapt to the evolving needs of the community and the world at large. They support agility. And as workplace change is increasingly rapid, it is likely that those regions actively engaged in emerging markets will be better placed to manage the tensions between flexibility and predictability.”
If you, your colleagues or your clients are looking to pick up a new skill, then an
But with this luxury comes great responsibility—mainly, the task of finding a site that works best for you.
Below is a list of resources that offer free, cheap, and quality classes right here on the internet.
Now all you have to do is sign up for one!
ALISON has a large range of free, comprehensive classes on financial literacy, personal and soft skills, digital skills, entrepreneurship and then some. It targets all kinds of learners, from professionals and managers to teachers and freelancers.
Udemy has plenty to offer for the learner on a budget, from completely free courses taught by experts, professors, entrepreneurs, and professionals, to frequent discounts and class specials. In addition to classes in tech, business, and marketing, you can also explore options in productivity, health, hobbies, and lifestyle.
If you want to receive a college education without the high cost of tuition, Coursera is the best stop. This website offers amazing courses in all kinds of fields, from professional development to psychology, history, and literature—all created and taught by professors at top institutions nationally and across the globe. Their universities include Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, and plenty more.
Just like Coursera, edX offers anyone, anywhere the chance to take university classes in various departments—and get certified. Some of their big partners include Harvard, Berkeley, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and the University of Chicago (and that’s not all!).
Udacity focuses on software development, offering free courses in programming, data science, and web development. The website also offers a nanodegree program for individuals who want to master a skillset or pursue a full-time career in tech.
By subscribing to Lynda, you’ll have access to thousands of courses in business, design, art, education, and tech. And it offers a free 10-day trial so you can test the waters!
Skillshare provides “bite-sized” classes to learners who only have 15 minutes a day. It has over 500 free classes and several thousand premium classes to choose from in topics such as film, writing, tech, lifestyle, and more.
LearnSmart’s orientated toward career development, which is why it’s a great place to learn about IT and security, project management, Office, HR, and business.
After subscribing to Pluralsight (or using its free trial!), you’ll be able to explore classes in software, 3D development, VFX, design, game design, web design, and CAD software.
12. Adobe TV
Not sure how to use Photoshop or InDesign? Don’t worry, Adobe TV will walk you through all its programs with tutorials, manuals, and more.
FutureLearn’s completely free, with classes taught by universities and special organizations. Its big topics are business and management, creative arts, law, health, politics, science, digital skills, sports and leisure, and teaching.
14. Academic Earth
And if you’re looking solely for academic classes, this website is perfect for you. It has courses in the arts, science, humanities, economics, computer science, and more, all for free.
Still don’t know where to start? Try Class Central—it personalizes your class search by asking you from the get-go what you’re interested in learning and from whom. Then, it pairs you with options from Coursera, edX, and other forums to find what best suits your needs, making the process even easier!
Several organisations have come together to create the UK’s first universal framework for essential skills
The Essential Skills Taskforce, made up of the CIPD, The Careers & Enterprise Company, Business in the Community (BITC), the Gatsby Foundation, EY Foundation and the Skills Builder Partnership, aims to address employers’ growing need for a more rounded set of skills, such as critical thinking and creativity.
Due to launch in 2020, the framework will consist of a set of apps and online tools to provide candidates with a better idea of the skills required to succeed in a role, help employers hire the right people, and show what progression will look like for each different skill so employers can map out how to upskill or reskill workers.
The framework will also be geared towards making educators aware of the skills employers need so they can ensure students are well equipped to join the modern workforce.
Employers from a range of sectors will be consulted about the framework and it will go through several development stages. The final version is expected to be published in Spring 2020.
Chief executive of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) Matthew Taylor called for a universal skills framework in his review of modern working practices in 2017.
He welcomed the creation of a new Essential Skills Taskforce: “With the nature of work continuing to evolve, it is challenging to predict exactly what technical abilities and skills will be needed in years to come. However, there’s growing recognition that the core skills, which are essentially human and behavioural, will be vital in almost all jobs and roles.”
He added: “The work of the taskforce is an important step towards achieving a common understanding of these essential skills from education right through to our workplaces. Establishing a framework and a common language for these skills is vital in creating the clarity we need to achieve more productive, high-performing workplaces that enable people whatever their backgrounds to feel engaged and empowered in their jobs.’’
John Holman, Emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of York and former STEM skills adviser to the government, will chair the Essential Skills Taskforce. He commented that despite the rise of automation at work, employees will still need specific skills that can’t be replicated by technology.
“If you ask employers what they are looking for in the people they hire, they increasingly specify essential skills like communication and teamwork. They take for granted that employees must have sound educational qualifications, and what makes the difference is the higher order essential skills which a machine cannot offer,” he said.
“By producing a universal framework of essential skills that are clear, measurable and authoritative, we will give employers a toolkit that they can use to select and train the employees they need to succeed in tomorrow’s workplace. Equally importantly, it will be a toolkit that schools, colleges and universities can use to help the students develop these skills.”
News of the framework comes as students receive their exam results. Rachael Saunders, education director at BITC, said that some of the skills needed at work are frequently overlooked by the education system.
“While the knowledge that young people will gain through their studies is vital, essential skills such as teamwork, creativity, leadership and problem solving are in danger of being forgotten. These skills are valuable now and will remain vital in the future as a balanced focus between knowledge and skills directly links to the UK’s economic development and productivity,” she said.
“Employees and students must be supported to build the skills they need now for our changing world of work, and given access to learning that will equip them to develop the skills they need for the future.”
Saunders called on employers and educators to work together to address the skills challenge in the UK. “If businesses are looking for specific essential skills, they need to work with educators using a curriculum that’s relevant to modern life. This will ensure that businesses benefit from the workforce of the future having the skills they need while leading the way in providing good and fair employment opportunities to all, regardless of background,” she said.
The D2N2 Digital Skills Academy exclusively supports autistic individuals and women that want to get back into work.
Individuals could be returning to work after a period of absence, out of work and wanting to find a job, or feel that their current skills are underused in their existing role and want to pursue a career in a
This programme is designed to help individuals gain the digital skills they need to find a job they’ll thrive in and to become more digitally savvy and boost career prospects.
This training is completely FREE, and comprises a four-day programme.
What support is provided?
Delegates will be taught the skills required to become work-ready for a job in the growing digital sector. Each course set is delivered by experienced and industry-leading digital experts.
Delegates also receive support from a graduate digital buddy, who’ll help build their confidence and offer one-to-one guidance in a safe environment.
Appropriate work experience opportunities may also be a possibility for some delegates once they’ve completed their course.
What is the eligibility criteria?
Each course requires every participant to have a minimum level of digital skills and experience to ensure that the training course is right for them. Desired skills include competency and thorough understanding of computer systems, and applications, be familiar with file management, word processing systems, and have excellent written and verbal skills.
How do you enrol on the Digital Skills Academy?
Follow the link below:
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