Helen Milner is CEO of Good Things Foundation, a social change charity helping people to improve their lives through digital

Today’s world is a digital one, and the digital revolution means that everyone needs essential digital skills to play a full role - not only in the workplaces of tomorrow, but in those of today as well.

It is crucial that no-one is left behind, and that everyone has the digital skills they need to enter and thrive in work. Further Education plays a critical role in providing digital skills - and with funding and support for adult digital skills qualifications due to be ramped up, now is the time to commit to 100% digital inclusion for all.

Today, 11.3 million adults in the UK still lack the essential digital skills that are necessary for life and work. Our research has found that at the current rate of investment, 12% of the UK adult population will still be digitally excluded in 2028. This means that 7 million people will miss out on the opportunities that digital can bring.

So how do we ensure that everyone has the skills they need to thrive in today’s digital world?

At Good Things Foundation, we have the same goal as the FE sector - to help everyone to learn new skills and improve their lives.

There are 5,000 Online Centres across the UK, community-based organisations who tackle digital and social exclusion by helping people learn digital skills. By working with these organisations, Good Things Foundation has supported over 2 million people to gain digital skills since 2010.

More than 80% of these beneficiaries have progressed to further learning, frequently in FE, helping to support both employment and social mobility.

Pathways of Learning: From Online Centres to Higher Skills

A key strength of the Online Centres Network is its reach into communities, engaging those who are excluded and marginalised, frequently those who are disengaged from mainstream education and skills.

People who are offline or have low digital skills are more likely to be unemployed, in poverty or have a disability, and Online Centres play a key role in helping them achieve personal goals, while also building their essential digital skills.

This creates strong potential for partnership with FE institutions with a focus on social inclusion and widening participation: particularly important as the rollout of Universal Credit continues.

As well as supporting social inclusion and creating opportunity, the pathways of learning from Online Centres to FE institutions play a key role in helping more people gain digital skills for work, and in many cases entering higher skilled jobs.

Our research has found that upskilling the whole UK population in digital skills would bring an extra £313 million in employment benefits into the economy by 2028.

Reflecting both the critical social and economic importance of digital inclusion and basic digital skills, at Good Things Foundation we’re calling on government and other organisations to make a clear commitment to digitally upskilling the nation.


We want to see all organisations take positive steps towards #BridgingtheDigitalDivide, helping make the UK the first 100% digitally included country in the world.

Now, we’re inviting the FE sector to join the campaign. We know that digital inclusion can be a powerful pathway to FE, and that FE institutions have a critical role to play in raising digital skills.

Institutions like Morley College London are already leading by example, with digital inclusion included as a fundamental part of the college’s strategic plan.

Recognising the importance of digital skills, the College has identified students’ digital literacy as a top priority, taking a number of steps to ensure students can operate in the digital world, including embedding technology in the classroom and focusing on the digital upskilling of both students and staff. As a result, 83% of students agree that the use of digital resources is a good feature of their course.

By encouraging the FE sector to join the #BridgingtheDigitalDivide campaign, we believe we can move even faster towards the target of a 100% digitally included nation. Through the campaign we’d also like to continue developing relationships between FE institutions and Online Centres in communities.

We have developed a number of resources that those working in FE can use to support people in developing digital skills. Our Learn My Way platform – funded through our Future Digital Inclusion programme with the Department for Education - offers free and interactive courses that cover everything from using a mouse and a keyboard to online shopping and banking.

We have also developed a range of online resources and handbooks to help organisations working with excluded groups to engage them in digital skills. These resources are open to everyone, including FE institutions who want to help students and prospective students to gain the vital digital skills that they need.

Investing in the UK’s digital future is crucial

Nobody should be left behind as the digital revolution continues. We are making positive steps towards 100% digital inclusion, but to accelerate progress a co-ordinated, cross-sector approach is needed.

I look forward to continuing to work with the FE sector on digital inclusion, and encourage all FE institutions to join our campaign and commit to action that helps even more people benefit from the digital world.

Everyone will benefit from achieving 100% digital inclusion, and we all have a role to play in making it happen. With the support of the FE sector, we can build a positive digital future for everyone.

Helen Milner is CEO of Good Things Foundation, a social change charity helping people to improve their lives through digital.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Sponsored Video

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

Educating yourself in Prison: an inside job

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

RT @NCFE: ‘For as long as humans have worked, and whatever industry they may have worked in, success has always been predicated on having t…
View Original Tweet

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.


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.


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