Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has launched Digital Skills, a suite of online courses designed to help tackle the U.K.’s digital skills gap.

The free courses aim to provide young people not in education, employment or training; entrepreneurs; people returning to work after an extended career break; and those looking to re-skill with the digital knowledge and skills required to thrive in the digital economy.

The Digital Skills programme includes seven courses developed by digital experts across Accenture:

  1. Grow Your Career;
  2. Social Media;
  3. Web Analytics;
  4. Digital Marketing;
  5. User Experience;
  6. Retail; and
  7. Mobile.

Offered through FutureLearn, a social learning platform, the courses are easily accessible and optimised for mobile to enable learning anytime, anywhere.

The courses are designed to help learners make sense of the ever-evolving digital world, from understanding the basics to more advanced concepts and how to apply these.

Featuring subject matter experts from across Accenture, the courses offer animated bite-sized videos and quizzes as well as social interaction and collaboration with other learners and facilitation from experts.

The learning materials provide engaging content to support the learners’ journey to employment, including case studies, career guides and signposts to further education and work experience opportunities. Accenture digital experts act as course leaders, and discussions are moderated 24/7.

The launch follows a successful pilot involving more than 1,000 people, 100 percent of whom felt the course improved their knowledge and understanding of digital.

“It’s critical that the U.K. has access to a talent pool that helps us maintain our position as a leading digital economy,” said Olly Benzecry, chairman and managing director for Accenture in the U.K. and Ireland.  “Businesses have a responsibility to help shape the workforce based on the skills we need. By equipping people with the digital acumen required for the jobs of the future, our Digital Skills programme supports our business as well as our efforts to help to build an inclusive digital economy, in which everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their potential.”

Simon Nelson, FutureLearn’s chief executive, said, “We’re delighted to be working with Accenture on this important initiative. For those entering the job market, having proficient digital skills is imperative; school students and indeed university students will graduate into jobs that don’t yet exist. At the same time, the job for life is a thing of the past; today’s workforce is changing and we’re seeing people increasingly need to re-skill and upskill. We have a strong curriculum in the digital space with courses ranging from big data and coding to cyber security. We’re delighted to be able to offer these new courses from Accenture, and we’re committed to further developing our portfolio to help address the digital skills gap.”

Margot James, the U.K.’s Minister for Digital and the Creative Industries, said, “It's wonderful to see Accenture making a further commitment to provide free training as part of the Digital Skills Partnership. "Working with industry, we've already delivered more than 2 million training opportunities, and this new scheme will give even more people the chance to learn important skills to get on in life, improving their employability in an increasingly digital world."

Digital Skills from Accenture is the latest initiative in Accenture’s efforts to provide people with the skills needed to thrive in the digital economy, in line with its Skills to Succeed global Corporate Citizenship initiative.

The company already offers free access to the Skills to Succeed Academy, a digital training programme designed to build key employability skills and confidence through character-based learning that includes gamification, simulations, virtual coaches, a mobile app, videos and quizzes.

To date, the Academy has helped more than 60,000 people develop new skills to get a job.

Accenture is also a founding partner of Movement to Work, the cross-sector group of organisations offering work experience and training opportunities to provide young people with a path to entry-level jobs.  

Since 2014, Accenture has provided 630 Movement to Work vocational training placements, focused around technology and digital skills. More than half of participants who complete a placement move into permanent employment afterwards.

To register for Digital Skills from Accenture click here

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