The sector has significant work to support the estimated 1 in 5 adults who lack basic digital skills in the UK.

One of the questions we are often asked as the leading Awarding Organisation for Essential Digital Skills, is “how are other providers using EDSQ?”

Since becoming a legal entitlement for adults and eligible to include in study programmes for 16-19 year olds, we have seen various delivery models being successfully used. Here are seven of the most popular:

1. As part of all learners’ diagnostic assessments

Part of the funding requirements for EDSQ is the need for learners to undertake an initial diagnostic assessment. Many providers are already familiar with taking a similar approach for English and maths and now include the EDSQ diagnostic as part of that, ensuring that all eligible learners receive the opportunity to improve their basic digital skills.

Gateway Qualifications provide a free initial assessment tool to help determine whether a learner needs EDSQ and, if so, whether Entry Level 3 or Level 1 is likely to be most appropriate.

2. As an alternative to Functional Skills ICT

Some Colleges and Training Providers are implementing EDSQ to form part of a study programme as an alternative to Functional Skills ICT. They are finding that the content of EDSQ is more up-to-date and engaging for learners than the older ICT Functional Skills qualifications.

3. Deliver EDSQ to all eligible ESOL learners.

Several ESOL providers we work with offer digital qualifications such as EDSQ to all eligible ESOL learners as part of an enhanced learning package. EDSQ is often run alongside other qualifications such as Living and Working in the UK. Some providers find that this provides learners with a broader experience and enhances their employment opportunities.

4. As part of a Traineeship

One of our FE Colleges in London is delivering EDSQ as part of a Traineeship for learners aged 19 and over. They implement this as part of the mandatory initial assessment stage, highlighting that many of these learners lack the essential digital skills required in today’s workplaces.

5. As a standalone course

As well as offering EDSQ as part of an educational package alongside other qualifications, it can also be delivered as a standalone course to learners who want to develop their digital skills.

One college in London decided to deliver Entry 3 and Level 1 EDSQ to termly cohorts – either one day per week or two days per week – within the academic year; this gave the provider a structured framework.

6. To support digital learning in other courses

Building on their experiences during the pandemic, some colleges offer EDSQ as an additional course to learners currently undertaking other qualifications. Offering EDSQ at the start of their studies can help ensure learners have the digital and IT skills needed to succeed on their main course and prevent them from dropping out.

Here are a couple of examples of this in action:

  • A provider in Manchester recognised that delivering EDSQ at the beginning of the academic year helped retain their students already completing other courses.
  • A college in London offered EDSQ to Access HE students to assist them with returning to education and prepare them for the online activities that could feature within the learning, i.e., online lessons, online learning platforms, emailing tutors, etc.

7. To support those returning to education

As education delivery has evolved, and with the increase of remote learning during the pandemic, it has become vital that students can adapt to the new modes of learning. Here are a couple of examples of how some providers have delivered EDSQ to adult learners returning to education:

  • A college in the Midlands delivers EDSQ alongside their Functional Skills qualification. The college offers a Maths, English, and Digital initial assessment, then teach a digital and English blended provision.
  • One FE college has implemented EDSQ within the college’s sizeable Pre-Access programme. The college runs three pathways at Level 2 and one course at Level 1 to support learners who plan to study Access to HE the following year. In this approach, all learners returning to education are given an initial digital assessment, showing that almost all learners are eligible for Entry 3 or Level 1 Essential Digital Skills.
  • Other providers are offering EDSQ to Access to HE learners at the start of their course if they do not run a pre-Access programme; this has been vital in enabling some learners to continue being able to use online resources and attend remote lessons during the pandemic.

Find out more about Essential Digital Skills

The Gateway Qualifications Essential Digital Skills qualification provides the essential information needed to navigate all aspects of the online environment.

Find out more about EDSQ.

After registering with Gateway Qualifications, providers can access:

  • an extensive range of support materials, including an initial assessment tool,
  • teaching and learning materials,
  • mock assessments that are key in preparing candidates for evaluation.

Contact us for more information.