The UK joined a third of the world’s population in lockdown this year. The Prime Minister announced lockdown measures starting on the 23rd March to slow down the spread of the virus and reduce excess deaths. As a result, 8.9 million workers were furloughed from their jobs and record numbers of people Googled home office setup, bikes, veg boxes, and learn a language.
A huge number of Britons used this time to improve their skills or find a new online hobby. FutureLearn.com saw a 350% increase in visitors from the UK, looking to boost their CV, adjust to the new normal, or just fill their time with something new.
Unsurprisingly, London led the charge as the UK’s largest city with Birmingham following, but Glasgow, Bristol, and Edinburgh made up 3 of the top 5 despite having much smaller populations.
COVID 19 has been the world’s focus since early 2020, and courses on the topic have dominated the top 5 lists for most UK cities. Teachers around the country have also had to pivot online quickly, and have dedicated time and resources to improve their understanding of online learning, teaching, and how to provide good continuity for their students.
Interestingly, there has also been a nation-wide focus on mental health issues and how to support yourself or others. Many of our learners from top cities have focused on improving their understanding of ADHD and learning to support young people with depression/anxiety.
Lifelong-learning is a huge focus at FutureLearn, and it’s been encouraging to see so many people improving their skills for work, including a large number of visitors from Leeds showing interest in people management skills, and plenty of people in Bristol, Manchester and Liverpool improving their digital skills with a social media course.
There have been some fun courses too – users from Birmingham have been keenest to get into journalism, while people from London and Cardiff are most likely to start writing fiction. Glaswegians have been the most concerned with caring for vulnerable children or people with anxiety or depression, and Liverpudlians have been the keenest British historians, looking at the controversies of the British Empire.