The world has changed in the last two years, becoming more digital than ever. Many of those who are digitally excluded are worried about their personal details, security, and safety in the online environment.

On top of all that, skills needed for the workforce are changing – 90% of jobs expected to emerge within the next 20 years will require basic digital skills. This shift has caught some people by surprise, with many lacking the skills or technology to keep up.

Many colleges and local education providers are bridging the skills gap by offering the Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ) to learners across the country.

Find out more information about EDSQ here

Digital pays dividends

The benefits of developing digital skills are numerous and include improved job prospects, feeling less isolated and being part of a community.

Jim is 79, and is a retired tradesman, he heard about the EDSQ course via Age Concern and decided to sign-up. Since starting the course, Jim has learnt how to send and receive emails, he’s set up a Facebook account and can keep up-to-date with the news.

Sisters Ruth and Catherine are both retired and in their 60s. Catherine, a retired nurse said: “I got the leaflet about the course through my door, and because Ruth and I now volunteer for a charity and we’re back in the workplace, we knew it made sense to ‘grasp the nettle’ and to take this opportunity.”

Ruth added: “This course has been a great experience, I do have more confidence and I’ve learnt that computers are logical, that I shouldn’t overthink things. I’m brave enough to experiment with technology.”

Isabella, 34, from London said: “I left university about seven years ago and I have needed this course to brush up my skills, as well as learn new things – technology doesn’t stand still, and I was surprised at how much I didn’t know.

Up-skilling in lockdown

Shirley, 50, from Somerset, said: “I heard about the essential digital skills courses via the Jobcentre. I can now use a laptop as well as an iPad, work with Microsoft Office 365 to be able to do distance learning, edit graphics… the list goes on and on. Qualifications are important to me as it shows on your CV for job interviews that you have background knowledge.”

Farheeda, 56 heard about the course from her careers advisor, she said: “Coronavirus spurred me on to do this course, I had no digital skills at all and with everything going online I knew I needed to upskill and to do something for myself instead of relying on others to help me. I’ve learnt such a lot. I can use Word, send emails, and do lots more with my phone.”

For more information about the Essential Digital Skills Qualification, please contact us.