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Introducing Essential Digital Skills

Essential Digital Skills qualifications (EDSQs) will be available later this year and will be automatically funded for adults who don’t have the basic digital skills they need for life and work.

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 will be 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 learn 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
  • Transacting (buying) online activities
  • Being responsible, safe and legal online

Gateway Qualifications has started to develop qualifications based on these standards and the guidelines of Ofqual (Office of Qualifications & Examinations Regulation).

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 you can download by clicking here), which explains the five skill areas covered by the standards.

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

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

If you would like to contribute to our development of Essential Digital Skills, please contact clare.dye@gatewayqualifications.org.uk.

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