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Free FutureLearn digital skills courses available via government Skills Toolkit, the leading social learning platform, has been selected as a provider for the Department for Education’s new online learning platform, launched by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson today to help boost the nation’s skills while people are staying at home. 

Available on the website, The Skills Toolkit hosts a number of free, high-quality courses in digital and numeracy skills, including FutureLearn’s ‘Digital Skills: Social Media’ course built in partnership with Accenture; and its ‘Create a Professional Online Presence’, ‘How to Create Great Online Content’, ‘Presenting Your Work with Impact‘ and ‘Thriving in the Digital Workplace’ courses built in partnership with the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding, a consortium of more than 30 universities and over 100 industry and outreach partners, supported by the UK government via the Office for Students, that works to increase the volume of learners taking digital skills courses.

The Accenture and Institute of Coding courses were launched in order to help individuals gain the key digital skills they need to boost their careers and thrive in today’s workplace. The courses are online and flexible, allowing individuals to work through them at their own pace. 

Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, said: “At FutureLearn our mission has always been to transform access to education and we are proud to be working with the Department for Education to deliver on that shared vision. We hope that the free digital skills courses included within the Skills Toolkit, which were built in partnership with Accenture, the Institute of Coding, and the University of Leeds, will bring practical and accessible support to people across the country, and ensure that individuals and businesses are able to access the skills and training opportunities they need to keep thriving and moving forward, not just during this challenging period, but beyond it.”

More information on The Skills Toolkit can be found on the website.

The 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.

“The high-quality and free to access courses on offer on our new online learning platform, The Skills Toolkit, will help those whose jobs have been affected by the outbreak, and people looking to boost their skills while they are staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.

“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.”

Professor Neil Morris Dean of Digital Education at the University of Leeds said: “We have long recognised the need to support individuals to develop digital skills to meet the societal and economic global challenges facing us, and this suite of online courses provide opportunities to gain new knowledge and transferable skills. We are proud to have worked with Futurelearn and the Institute of Coding to develop these online courses, which are interactive, social and inclusively-designed.”

Rachid Hourizi Director of the Institute of Coding said: “We are delighted to be part of the government’s Skills Toolkit. The Institute of Coding exists to make digital skills education available to a larger and more diverse group of people. To do this, we work with our partners to produce a variety of courses, including some that are short, online and free. Developed with input from industry, the Institute of Coding courses in The Skills Toolkit enable you to access learning when it suits you, gain the skills employers are looking for, and learn useful information for your life and career during this challenging period.”

Shaheen Sayed, Senior Managing Director and Health & Public Service Lead at Accenture, commented: “Virtual learning can be just as engaging and effective as traditional face to face teaching.  Particularly in our current situation; the ability to learn remotely allows workers to gain important new skills. Strong digital capabilities are particularly vital to be able to fully engage in today’s workplace and we are delighted that our free digital skills courses are being made more widely available.”


Notes to editor

  • According to Nesta’s 2016 Tech Nation report, in recent years, the number of digital jobs grew almost three times as quickly as other occupations.
  • The Employer Skills Survey 2016 found a third of employers identified digital skills lacking among applications.
  • Research commissioned by DCMS in June 2019 showed that three quarters (75%) of all job openings require at least basic digital skills. 


About FutureLearn

Here at FutureLearn, our purpose is to transform access to education. We do that by partnering with over a quarter of the world’s top universities to support over 11 million learners across the globe to develop skills and achieve their personal and professional goals. We’re a leading social learning platform founded in December 2012 by The Open University and are now jointly owned by The Open University in the UK and The SEEK Group. We use design, technology and partnerships to create enjoyable, credible and flexible short online courses and microcredentials, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. In addition to top universities, we also partner with leading organisations such as Accenture, the British Council, CIPD, Raspberry Pi and Health Education England (HEE), as well as being involved in government-backed initiatives to address skills gaps such as The Institute of Coding and the National Centre for Computing Education.

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