Government launches free learning for furloughed workers

Employers are being urged to encourage furloughed staff to improve their skills while at home by using a new e-learning platform the Department for Education has introduced today.

Maths and digital skills are highly prized by employers, so for those who take the chance to upskill, they can help improve their job prospects and career progression. I’d encourage all businesses to make their staff aware of this learning opportunity” – Matthew Fell, CBI

“The Skills Toolkit” gives people access to “high-quality digital and numeracy courses” to help build up their skills, progress in work and boost their job prospects.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I know how difficult the recent months have been and the huge changes the coronavirus has brought on the daily lives of us all… I want businesses to encourage their furloughed employees to use The Skills Toolkit to improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak.”

Courses on offer cover a range of levels, from everyday maths and tools for using email and social media more effectively at work, to more advanced training. People can access courses, developed by the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, helping them to create great online content, to understand the fundamentals of digital marketing from Google Digital Garage, and to learn how to code for data analysis from the Open University.

Professor Tim Blackman, vice-chancellor of the Open University said: “Our world leading expertise and capability in online teaching shapes our free, short courses on our OpenLearn platform. Learners can start at any time and study at their own convenience, balancing learning with other responsibilities, especially in these unprecedented times.”

The government said the Skills Toolkit is designed to help people gain new skills while they are staying at home and boost their confidence. The courses have been selected on the advice of experts and leading employers to make sure they meet the needs of business

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden said: “The impact of Covid-19 has shown how important digital skills are – both for work and other aspects of our lives. Technology is going to play a hugely important role in our economic recovery and this new platform will help ensure everyone is able to improve their digital skills and take advantage of the opportunities ahead.”

Matthew Fell, chief policy director at the CBI, said: “The toolkit’s heavy emphasis on the skills that businesses need are welcome. Maths and digital skills are highly prized by employers, so for those who take the chance to upskill, they can help improve their job prospects and career progression. I’d encourage all businesses to make their staff aware of this learning opportunity.”

Nick Williams, transformation director for Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Now more than ever we’re really happy to share our Lloyds Bank Academy digital skills as part of this important government and industry collaboration.

“Providing practical support to help more people, small businesses and charities across Britain build the confidence they need to adapt their skills and aspirations has come into even sharper focus. We’re all learning new ways of doing things during these challenging times, and whatever we can do to support others makes great sense to us.”

One Response to Government launches free learning for furloughed workers

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    Jan Carberry 30 Apr 2020 at 9:57 am #

    This is a great idea, but would this involve ensuring furloughed employees are paid minimum wage for the time spent on learning?

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