Digital skills

Digital skills and going online are increasingly important.

Many jobs and work tasks have a digital element, lots of training and learning is available online and our day to day lives require digital confidence - for example to keep in touch with friends and family, use government and other services, bank and shop online, search and apply for jobs, and find information and news. The speed of technological development, including artificial intelligence, data analytics and robotics, has implications for the current and future workforce, and the skills they need, in the UK. And the digital sector itself is constantly growing.

unionlearn digital learning resources and offers

Here are just a few ways to assess and improve your digital skills:

  • Unionlearn’s ICT SkillCheck is an online tool to help people find their level of skills and think about where they would like to develop.
    Getting started, Step Up and Staying Safe Online questions sets are available. They cover areas like using the internet, working with digital information and protecting yourself online. SkillCheck is free to use after giving a few details and is available as a web version, and as an app.
  • Our 15 minute elearning topics include digital options such as Safe video conferencing
  • Unionlearn's partnership with Wranx provides an Introduction to online security course
  • New Essential Digital Skills qualifications will be available from September 2020.
    Wranx have put together modules based around the Entry Level qualification. The five modules available are below and they could provide an introduction or reinforcement of knowledge to union members interested in the Essential Digital Skills qualifications when they are available.
    1. Being Safe and Responsible Online - this module focuses on online risks and threats, and will show you how to protect your privacy and your data, as well as how to be safe and responsible online.
    2. Communicating - this module focuses on the various ways to communicate with others, including email, video calls and social media, and also how to communicate and collaborate securely.
    3. Handling Information and Content - this module focuses on the skills you need to find, use, manage and store digital information correctly and securely.
    4. Transacting - this module focuses on the main online services available to you, from creating accounts online and using key public services, to making online purchases securely.
    5. Creating and Editing - this module focuses on the key skills needed to create and edit documents, images and other digital media on your device, as well as the programs used for these tasks.
  • Unionlearn's partnership with The Skills Network provides two Level 2 digital courses free to the learner: Principles for Digital Skills and Certificate in IT User Skills
  • Many union learning centres offer digital skills training. Find a union learning centre near you by using the unionlearn directory of union-led learning centres and spaces. Information on over 150 centres can be found in the directory.
  • The union learning Climbing Frame has a comprehensive section on Digital skills with information on bitesize and free learning available, courses, qualifications, the union role and working with providers and employers. There are links to many resources, apps and websites for support and information on digital skills.
  • Learn My Way is a website of free online courses, built by Good Things Foundation to help people develop their digital skills. Over 30 courses are available including ones on using computers and other devices, email, forms, Facebook, and online public services to help people develop their skills and to encourage people to progress onto further learning. Register for Learn My Way - you will be asked for a centre code. The unionlearn centre code is 3450748.
  • Birkbeck, University of London - union members can take advantage of a 10% discount on courses, search under their Department of Computer Science and Information Systems for short courses, and undergraduate and postgraduate options.

Your own trade union may offer courses too - contact your union learning rep or union to find out what's available.

Unionlearn has welcomed the government announcement of adult digital skills funding entitlement. This is a sign that digital skills joins maths and English skills in importance. The new publicly funded digital skills offer is due by 2020.

Trade union-led learning centres around the country, unions and unionlearn working in partnership with other organisations, deliver opportunities for people to develop and improve their digital skills. In 2014 unionlearn signed up to support the UK Digital Inclusion Charter, launched to mark the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web and keeps promoting the value of digital skills both in people’s work and home lives.

Some other sources of learning and support on digital skills development are listed below:

Department for Education

The online platform The Skills Toolkit offers free digital and numeracy courses. These include Digital skills such as using social media and staying safe online to coding, programming or digital marketing.

Good Things Foundation

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity, helping people to improve their lives through digital.

They run the Online Centres Network of 5,000 organisations around the UK that provide millions of people with access to technology and support in using it. Register to become a UK Online centre. Network members can access grants and resources.

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses, built by Good Things Foundation to help people develop their digital skills. Over 30 courses are available including ones on using computers and other devices, email, online forms, Facebook, and online public services to help people develop their skills and to encourage people to progress onto further learning. Register for Learn My Way - you will be asked for a centre code. The unionlearn centre code is 3450748.

The Foundation also delivers Get Online Week a campaign that has grown into a week-long, annual celebration, with thousands of events taking place each year in communities across the UK, giving everyone the chance to find the help they need to improve their digital skills.

FutureLearn

FutureLearn's IT and computer science section has over 90 free courses to choose from, from beginner to advanced level.

FutureLearn offer courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world, accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop.

Digital Unite

Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning. They provide a range of resources and services to support people on their digital journey, from the complete beginner to those helping others to get online.

  • Subscribe to receive the Digital Unite newsletter.
  • Training and support to help Digital Champions and computer mentors develop their personal skills and teaching techniques so they can engage and inspire others with digital technology. Organisations can choose a Digital Unite package giving access through licences to the training and support available for their Digital Champion networks, and to project management tools for some packages.
  • Technology guides - an extensive range of free technology guides covering a whole range of digital technology aspects, from computer basics to internet security digital photography and using smartphones and tablets. The guides will be useful for Union Learning Reps supporting other learners, or in improving your own confidence and skills.

For more information, email [email protected] or telephone 0800 228 9272

Age UK

Among Age UK’s services they work to help people get the most out of the internet and increase digital inclusion. They have a technology and the internet section on their website with a glossary and guides to help people stay safe online and make the most of the internet.

Age UK computer training courses are also available, offering easy to follow courses, helping older people overcome barriers to getting online and enjoying what the internet can offer. More than 200,000 people in later life are helped each year resulting in a sense of increased independence and decreased social isolation and loneliness.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors. It’s a source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety – for both individuals and businesses. Visit their website for information on potential risks and ways to protect yourself. A huge range of topics are covered from fraud and online abuse to safe browsing for children and protecting against identity theft.