New Digital Qualifications For The British Workforce

Giving young people skills they need in an increasingly digital world and preparing them for a wide range of cutting-edge jobs is a UK priority. Consequently, the UK government has launched almost 400 free qualifications as part of its Lifetime Skills Guarantee. “An estimated 11 million adults now have the opportunity to gain a new qualification for free, designed to help them to gain in-demand skills and secure great jobs,” says the government’s 1st April press release.

The qualifications, backed by £95 million in government funding, range from engineering and digital skills to social care, and are available to any adult who has not already achieved a qualification at Level 3 - equivalent to A-levels.

There are 31 digital qualifications being offered ranging from computer science, software deployment, systems infrastructure, cyber security practices, and coding practices. Each category awards either a GCE A-Level, a GCE AS Level, an equivalent occupational qualification, or an “other general qualification”.

The Lifetime Skills Guarantee, announced by the PM in September 2020, is aiming to transform the skills system to allow people to “gain the skills they need to progress in work at any stage of their lives". 

Boris Johnson said that the government’s focus, as lockdown slowly lifts, is on recovering from the pandemic and “building back better... As we cautiously lift lockdown restrictions, the government’s focus is on recovering from the pandemic and building back better. The Lifetime Skills Guarantee is fundamental to that - with free courses giving adults the expertise they need to find new, better jobs,” he said.  

The government claims that adults who take the free courses will have the potential to boost career prospects, wages, and help fill skill gaps while supporting the economy. In order to allow more unemployed people to take full advantage of these courses, “the government will pilot an extension to the length of time they can receive Universal Credit while undertaking work-focused study".

Those that are unemployed will be able to train full time for up to 12 weeks, or up to 16 weeks on a full-time skills in England, and still receive Universal Credit to support their living costs at the same time. “This will allow access to more training options and provide a better chance of finding work, while continuing to receive the support they need,” stated the government.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson called the launch of the qualifications a “pivotal moment” in the delivery of the Lifetime Skills Guarantee. “This offer will help give millions of adults the chance to gain the skills they to secure rewarding careers in key sectors of the economy including construction, healthcare and digital. With almost 400 to choose from, there is something there for everyone."

GovUK:        ITPro:             DFMedia:    

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