Esther Barrett is subject specialist teaching learning and assessment at Jisc

The UK's digital skills shortage never feels as if it's too far from the headlines so perhaps it's not surprising that we're starting to see digital capabilities move higher up the political agenda.

For all the talk of FELTAG and its 10% online requirement I would argue that we're seeing bigger advocacy – and a far bolder move – by Welsh Government, which is updating its Essential Skills qualification to include digital literacy.

Digital as a key skill

You'll probably know the name Essential Skills in Northern Ireland, but in England you'll likely recognise them as 'Functional Skills', or 'Core Skills' in Scotland.

Like these other nations, previously the Essential Skills Wales qualification focused on developing learner competencies in English, maths and ICT. However, last year the Welsh Government recognised that an ICT qualification focusing largely on Microsoft programmes wasn't going to cut it in supporting students to gain the dynamic digital skills they would need to support them in adapting with evolving digital technologies at home and in work.

The decision was taken that from September 2015, digital literacy would replace ICT as the third Essential Skill. Bear in mind that Essential Skills is a compulsory element for anyone studying towards an apprenticeship or foundation learning programme and you start to get an idea of the number of people the digital literacy programme will impact.

Guiding the transition

Since the changes were announced last year, with my Jisc colleagues and other sector bodies such as Colleges Wales, I have been working closely with Welsh Government. Our joint goal has been to support the development of a digital capabilities framework that incorporates the best bits from all of the leading digital literacies model, and is flexible enough to adapt as popular thinking changes, so that it can evolve with the needs of learners.

I believe the framework that the Welsh Government has launched does just this. It offers six themes across six levels, from Entry 1 to Level 3. These themes include:

  • Digital Responsibility

  • Digital Information Literacy

  • Digital Productivity

  • Digital Collaboration

  • Digital Creativity

  • Digital Learning.


Disseminating knowledge


Once the framework was developed we then had to think about implementation. The pressure here is clearly on the ICT practitioners and assessors, who now find themselves responsible for delivering a completely new area of learning.

So they can do this, we've been busy providing training for the trainers. Under a remit from Welsh Government, Jisc in partnership with Colleges Wales, has developed the digital literacy training course for practitioners working towards the newly established Level 3 practitioner qualifications. Since January practitioners or assessors involved in further education, work-based and adult learning, were able to take their own qualification, to help them develop professionally and better understand what's expected of them. Even what seemed like very simple things needed to be addressed within this – one of the questions that came up at the start was: what is digital literacy?

For the fifty practitioners who went through the qualification earlier this year, it has helped to address what digital literacy means in this context, build knowledge and understanding, and given them the confidence they need to deliver the new standards.

Continued support

With the practitioner qualification now delivered, it's not a case of cut and run. It's of enormous national interest that this revised qualification is successful and builds a positive future for Wales and its people.

Jisc is continuing to work with practitioners, running a series of specialised communities of practice to support them as their needs develop and ensuring we're made aware and can tackle any issues as they arise. Feedback from the first meeting at the start of June was very positive, and people seem enthusiastic and eager to put their learning into practice come September. Subsequent monthly community of practice sessions will look to build on this, featuring expert speakers and Jisc's own subject specialists to help support you every step of the way.

If you want to find out more, head to the Essential Skills website or contact me with any questions.

Esther Barrett is subject specialist teaching learning and assessment at Jisc, which provides digital solutions for UK education and research

You may also be interested in these articles:

Adaptations for 21-22 and beyond - #FutureOfAssessment Episode 3

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In Jan 2021, FE News had over 173,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector, putting us in the top 2,000 websites in the UK.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page