3 October 2016

The Government has announced plans to make training in basic digital skills free for adults who lack relevant qualifications.

The proposals, to be included in the amendment to the Digital Economy Bill, will mean publicly-funded basic digital skills training will be offered free of charge to adults in England who need it. The Digital Economy Bill also includes plans for universal broadband obligations, more restrictions to help prevent under 18s from accessing pornography, and a review of online copyright laws.

It is estimated by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) that more than five million people in the UK have never used the internet and more than 10 million adults lack basic digital skills.

This is particularly emphasised in lower socio-economic groups and those over 65, and can prevent people from thriving in what is becoming a digitised workplace and job market.

Skills Minister Robert Halfon said:

“We are committed to making sure that everyone, regardless of age or background has the digital skills they need to enjoy the benefits of modern technology. Whether it’s applying for a job, accessing vital services or as consumers, our world is increasingly moving online – and we don’t want anyone left behind.

“Our reforms will mean that people who lack basic digital skills will get the training they need to get on the ladder of opportunity for the jobs of the future.”

Courses to provide these basic digital skills will be delivered by colleges and adult education providers, and training will be funded by the Adult Education Budget.

More information is available in the full government press release here.

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