Since August 2020 there has been a national entitlement to fully fund eligible adults aged 19+ who don’t have the basic digital skills that are typically required for life and work to undertake Essential Digital Skills qualifications (EDSQs). EDSQ are also funded for 16-19-year-olds as part of a Study Programme.
Why Essential Digital Skills qualifications are needed
“As an adult, you lose confidence in things when you aren’t using them regularly. To be honest, I was scared of breaking the computer but now I am more confident to try more things online and get back into work. I have really surprised myself!”
Learner Feedback, New City College
It is estimated that one in five adults lack foundation skills in digital technology and the Coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted the difficulties of accessing services online for those without confidence in their digital skills. To fill this gap, the Department for Education has introduced digital skills qualifications based on the essential digital skills framework.
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 for essential digital skills (created in April 2019) and are 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.
Gateway Qualifications was the first Awarding Organisation to make these qualifications available and has been offering them to Centres since September 2020.
Support for practitioners
We have prepared a selection of resources to support your delivery of Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (EDSQ), including a set of free teaching resources for approved Centres.
View our EDSQ Resources
Frequently Asked Questions
A dedicated page providing answers to the most common queries about our Essential Digital Skills qualifications.
Essential Digital Skills FAQs
Essential Digital Skills Standards
Download our handy infographic covering the Digital Skills Standards, or use this printable version.
Essential Digital Skills Infographic
Supporting Learners’ Personal Development