COLLEGE BOOST FOR GOVERNMENT DIGITAL SKILLS CHALLENGE

A new academy offering free courses in digital skills has echoed the Department for Education’s call for millions of furloughed workers to take up online training. The Digital Skills Academy, from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College, is helping to pave the way into careers in the burgeoning digital sector. It is also offering opportunities for everyone to improve their baseline digital skills during the coronavirus lockdown.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson has urged people on furlough to take advantage of the many free courses available to boost their skills and build their confidence so that they are well-placed to succeed after the lockdown period. According to the government’s Skills Toolkit, the number of digital jobs grew almost three times as quickly as other jobs, and roles that require digital skills pay around one third more than others.

Matt Smith, Director of the Digital Skills Academy said, “The digital sector is booming, and we have seen over recent weeks how businesses that use technology creatively can succeed under even the most difficult circumstances. Remote working is only likely to grow now that it has been tried and tested during the coronavirus lockdown.

Never before has the importance of digital inclusion been more apparent or more urgent. The drive to get the remaining one fifth of the UK population who currently don’t use the internet to join the online community represents a significant challenge.

“There has never been a better time to focus on upskilling your technical capabilities and the Digital Skills Academy is here to help. Whether you are new to IT or inspired to join or progress in the sector, we can offer routes that will help you at home and in your career.

“The Digital Skills Academy was set up primarily to offer a pathway to ‘in demand’ digital jobs in software development so that businesses can access a pipeline of people with higher level skills and address gaps within their workforce. In addition, students can access opportunities to improve the types of digital skills on which every business increasingly relies.

“With our courses being offered free to people living in a West Midlands postcode area, there has never been a better time to get online and start learning.”

Courses, including CompTIA IT Fundamentals (ITF+) and apprenticeships at a range of levels will be available only online at first and later at the Academy’s base which is being set up the Coventry University Technology Park in the heart of the city’s technology zone, or on employers’ own premises if required.

The Digital Skills Academy will work in partnership with employers to make sure its training offer is highly relevant and that it is able to support them by providing skilled individuals to boost their workforce.

The new academy has been designed to provide high quality industry-relevant teaching on a flexible basis at a range of levels creating a clear technical education pathway that takes account of individuals’ starting points. Employers will be involved in the delivery of masterclasses as part of the academy offer and students will be able to access live job opportunities as they arise.

Digital skills

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