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Unionlearn welcomes digital skills boost

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Unionlearn welcomes the Government’s plan to fund basic computer skills training free of charge to adults who need it.

The announcement of the initiative was made recently by the Department of Education (DfE) highlighting the importance of digital skills in the modern world.

Digital skills are vital for both work and home life but lack of them can be a source of inequality. Older people and people in lower socio-economic groups suffer especially from lack of digital skills. This means their access to jobs, shopping and even public services can be limited.

A recent research report shows more than ten million adults in England lack basic digital skills and an estimated 5.3 million people in the UK have never accessed the Internet.

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Unionlearn has argued for a long time that digital skills deserve the same emphasis as English and maths skills with similar funding arrangements attached. English and maths are currently funded up to level two for adults in England and digital skills should be considered as important. Good English, maths and digital skills help people to get into work and get on at work.

Over the years union-led learning centres have been successful in engaging learners to improve their digital skills as part of Union Learning Fund (ULF) funded projects.

Free training in digital skills is a welcome addition to the support for adult learning. According to the DfE the ICT courses will be delivered by colleges and other adult education providers, and training will be funded from the existing Adult Education Budget. The DfE will publicise the details of this new offer in the coming months.

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