Business: Training

Department for Education written question – answered on 22nd September 2020.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to assist businesses to deliver online skills training to staff.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

To equip people better to use digital tools and to adapt to the social distancing measures of COVID-19, the government launched The Skills Toolkit in April 2020. This offers a wide-range of digital and numeracy courses for all skills levels.

Courses are available for free to the public, offering an opportunity for individuals to upskill and build on their CV. Everything from ‘everyday maths’ to an introductory 70 hour course on coding. We want to significantly grow the range of the courses on offer and will therefore be launching an expanded platform shortly.

From August 2020, we have introduced a new digital entitlement that will enable adults with no or low digital skills to undertake new improved digital qualifications free of charge. These entitlements are based on new national standards, which set out the digital skills that people need in life and in work.

We are also providing £2.5 billion, over the course of this Parliament, for the National Skills Fund to help adults learn valuable skills and prepare for the economy of the future.

The government is also supporting the Digital Boost platform, which provides digital support for small businesses and charities in the UK that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The platform is building a community of skilled digital expert volunteers, who are providing one-to-one support to small businesses and charities free of charge to help them improve their digital capability, build sustainable incomes through digital channels, reach more customers online and stay competitive during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond.

The government has launched Local Digital Skills Partnerships (Local DSPs) in 7 regions across England to bring together cross-sector regional and national partners to work collaboratively to tackle regional skills gaps. These have been supporting regional economic recovery, for example, working closely with Growth Hubs to understand the challenges businesses and individuals are facing and collating useful resources to support people around digital during this time.

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