From education to employment

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister calls for views on new digital functional skills qualifications

Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships, Anne Milton


Consultation launched seeking views on the content for new digital Functional Skills qualifications – available for first teaching from 2021

Course content designed to meets the needs of employers and help prepare students for life and work

Next step in the introduction of the new digital offer for adults with no or low digital skills

Employers, post-16 providers, awarding organisations and students are being encouraged to have their say on the content for the new digital Functional Skills qualifications through an eight-week consultation launched today, Thursday 16 May.

The consultation is the latest step in the Government’s drive to help more adults get the essential digital skills they need, such as using a tablet, buying online, working with cloud storage or managing privacy settings, that many people take for granted.

Views are being sought to make sure the subject content for the new qualifications best meets the needs of employers and will prepare students for everyday life and work.

The digital Functional Skills qualifications, available from 2021, will support progression into employment or further education and develop skills for everyday life – based on the new, rigorous national standards for essential digital skills.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

“We want everyone to have the digital skills they need. This consultation builds on the new ‘essential digital skills’ qualifications which will give adults the chance to develop a whole host of new skills that they can use in their everyday lives and to get on in work.

“I encourage everyone to have their say. We want to make sure the content of these important qualifications meets the needs of employers and gives people the knowledge and skills they need.”

The proposed subject content for digital Functional Skills Qualifications is based on the new national standards for essential digital skills which, informed by the Essential Digital Skills framework, are defining the skills needed to participate in today’s digital world, were developed in close consultation with a range of providers, awarding organisations, employers and digital inclusion organisations.,

The Government recently announced new plans to boost digital skills for adults through free courses offered to thousands of people to help the 1 in 5 adults with no or low basic digital skills thrive in an increasingly digital world.

In April, we announced the new offer will comprise of new Essential Digital Skills qualifications, available from 2020, and new digital Functional Skills qualifications, available from 2021.

The new national entitlement from 2020 will fully fund adults with no or low digital skills to undertake the new qualifications. They will be supported to use digital devices like tablets, smart phones and laptop computers and to perform everyday activities like how to navigate the internet, send an email and make online payments, while protecting their privacy online.

The announcement builds on steps already taken to drive up the government’s digital offer including making computing a statutory national curriculum subject and introducing a new Computer Science GCSE and A Level.

Digital Functional Skills qualifications and Essential digital qualifications will be available at entry level and Level 1.

Any adult aged 19+ in England who does not have the essential digital skills required to operate effectively in work and day to day life will be eligible to study specified essential digital skills qualifications free of charge, where available at an Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) funded provider. Providers will be required to carry out a thorough initial assessment to determine an individual’s current skills level.

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