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Essential Digital Skills qualifications (EDSQs) are now available and will be automatically funded for adults who don’t have the basic digital skills that are typically required for life and work.


Sign up to one of our introductory webinars to see the online assessment platform, or get in touch if you are ready to begin delivery of the qualifications.

Sign up for EDSQ webinar now

Enquire about running EDSQ


It is estimated that one in five adults lack foundation skills in digital technology. To fill this gap, the Department for Education is introducing digital skills qualifications based on the essential digital skills framework. These qualifications are designed for adults, and will be available from September 2020.

A 2018 report found that:

  • 11.3 million people (21%) lack the full basic digital skills
  • 4.3 million (8%) have no basic digital skills at all
  • 5.4 million working adults (10%) are without basic digital skills
  • People with a registered disability are 4 times as likely to be offline
  • 28% of those aged 60+ are offline

The qualifications are based on the national standards (created in April 2019), and will be aimed at adults aged 19+. The qualifications are intended to support adults who want to join the digital world by learning digital skills for life, their work or for use in further study.

The Essential Digital Skills standards are:

  • Using devices and handling information (includes how to store information)
  • Creating and editing
  • Communicating online (such as via Social Media)
  • Transacting (buying) online activities
  • Being responsible, safe and legal online

However, when we spoke to providers about developing these qualifications, we found that the standards aren’t well understood. To help with this, we’ve turned the DfE’s information into a handy infographic, which explains the five skill areas covered by the standards.

For a handy guide to the standards, download our infographic here

Introducing our Essential Digital Skills Qualifications

Sign up for one of our launch webinars to learn more about these new qualifications, to see our online assessments and to find out what you need to do to be ready to teach them from 1st August 2020.

Sign up for a launch webinar now

More information about the development of Essential Digital Skills Qualifications is available in our guide here

View our qualifications

Gateway Qualifications is the first Awarding Organisation to complete Ofqual’s technical evaluation and to be able to make EDSQs available to Centres.

Gateway Qualifications first awarding organisation to receive green light for EDSQ

 

Essential Digital Skills FAQs
What devices can I use to teach?

You can use any device to teach Essential Digital Skills as we have designed the qualification content to be applicable to desktops, laptops, tablets and phones. Your teaching should cover a range of devices that are relevant to the learners.

Learners can take the assessment on any device as long as there is a good internet connection. However, we would recommend that the assessment is taken on a device with a larger screen and learners may find it easier to have a physical (rather than on-screen) keyboard.

Do the qualifications cover the skills needed for work or for life?

Both – the qualifications have been developed in consultation with our centres and cover a wide range of contexts that will be suitable for learners who choose to go onto further study, into the workplace or for life skills. Whilst both levels contain a mix of contexts, the Entry Level 3 qualification has a greater focus on skills for life whilst in the Level 1 there is a balance between skills for life and skills for work.

What age are the qualifications for?

The qualifications are for learners aged 19+ years.

Do we need Microsoft Office software?

No – as part of the assessment the learners will be required to produce and upload documents, such as leaflets and spreadsheets with graphs, however this can be done in any suitable software.

Are there assessment windows?

No – the assessments are available on demand.

Please refer to the Essential Digital Skills Guide for Centres for information on the conduct of assessment.

We have learners that are Entry 1 and Entry 2 is this suitable for them?

Essential Digital Skills qualifications are only available at Entry 3 and Level 1 as Entry 1 and Entry 2 are subsumed within Entry 3. Learners operating at Entry 1 or Entry 2 may be able to access the Entry 3 qualification depending on their initial starting point. However, where they need more time to reach the standard for Entry 3 you may find our Digital Skills for Life and Digital Skills for Work qualifications helpful. These qualifications are designed around the Essential Digital Skills standards so can be used as an entry route into Essential Digital Skills.

What content does the qualification cover?

The course content meets the national standards for Essential Digital Skills and focuses on five key areas including:

  • Using devices and handling information
  • Communicating
  • Being safe and responsible online
  • Creating and editing
  • Transacting online
How long will it take to complete the qualification?

We have assigned 45 GLH to each of the qualifications.

Which courses can learners progress to after completing EDSQ?

The Essential Digital Skills qualifications are designed to give learners the skills that are required in modern life and work. On completion of the Entry 3 qualification learners could progress to the Level 1.  Learners who complete the Level 1 could progress to a variety of digital skills programmes that include a variety of different topics.

Further information about qualifications available from Gateway Qualifications is available in our digital qualifications section.

How will the qualification be assessed?

The qualification will be assessed using an online platform. There is one timed assessment at each level.

What are the benefits of doing this qualification and what can it be used for?

The qualification provides learners with the essential digital skills which are needed in a wide range of situations in life and at work. For example, successful learners will be able to make appointments, order goods and services, organise payments using online platforms, conduct video calls, create, edit and save a range of documents, and troubleshoot basic problems on their device.

When will Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ) start?

The qualifications will be available from August 1st.  They will be fundable under a new legal entitlement for adults with assessments available from September 2020.

What level of digital skills will students require before starting the course?

The qualification is designed for students with little or no digital skills and there are no formal entry requirements.

It is, however, useful for learners to be able to turn on and control a device, connect it to the internet and open browsers and applications.

Our Entry Level Digital Skills for Life and Digital Skills for Work can be used to cover these skills before starting Essential Digital Skills if required.

Do you offer a pre-assessment tool?

We do not at present offer a pre-assessment tool. The Good Things Foundation offers a planner tool which was created in line with the national standards for Essential Digital Skills. More information can be found on the Good Things Foundation website.

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If you would like to teach our qualifications to your learners, submit an enquiry to discuss the best options.

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