• Lucy Markillie
Focus on: Digital skills

As Get Online Week comes to a close, it’s great to see how much focus and attention it’s helped to generate around the issue of digital inclusion.

The Skills Minister announced an overhaul of adult digital skills qualifications with the launch of a consultation to look at improving digital skills at beginner and essential level and introducing free qualifications to adults without basic digital skills. This is welcome news, and something we’re already taking a lead on here in Greater Manchester.

Back in July, the Growth Company launched Digital 1000 - an initiative aimed at supporting a thousand Greater Manchester residents to become digitally included over the next 12 months.

Get Online Week has been a fantastic opportunity to promote this initiative and working with our partners we’ve been delivering events and activities across Greater Manchester to encourage and support people to get involved. There are courses across two online portals – iDEA and Learn My Way.

At the beginner level, Learn My Way gives people the skills and confidence they need to get online to do things like pay bills, or simply connect with friends and family. Provided by the Good Things Foundation, Learn My Way has already helped over 2 million people to get online since 2010 and helps 62% of those accessing it to progress to employment-related activity.

At the next level, it’s about ensuring the UK workforce has the skills required to keep pace with technological innovation and the growing need for specialist digital roles this calls for. Without a strong, digitally-skilled workforce, there’s a real risk that innovation and business growth will be affected. We’re enabling people to access this higher level of digital learning through iDEA, an international programme that develops digital skills for enterprise or employment.

So let’s keep the focus going beyond Get Online Week. Take the opportunity to learn something new, and encourage your friends, family and wider networks to take advantage of digital skills initiatives, like Digital 1000, that are available. Who knows where it will take you!

You can follow the simple instructions below to begin learning: