University of Leeds | News > University > Digital skills courses reach more than half a million learners


Online courses developed by the Digital Education Service at the University of Leeds and focusing on employment skills have seen a 2000% increase in uptake since February 2020.

Online courses developed by the Digital Education Service at the
University of Leeds and focusing on employment skills have seen a 2000% increase
in uptake since February 2020.

Six
of the courses were adopted by the Department for Education in April for its online
platform The Skills Toolkit, designed
to help people learn new digital skills from home.

In partnership
with the Institute of Coding and FutureLearn, the course collection – ‘Digital Skills for the
Workplace
’ – features
15 courses on topics such as creating a professional online presence, basic
computer programming, and communication skills.

Devised by University of Leeds academics and industry experts, the courses
offer a flexible method of upskilling at a time when there is uncertainty for
many around jobs.

“I’m pleased such a diverse group of learners is
reaping the benefits of these fantastic courses and I urge anyone looking to
improve their digital know-how to sign up.”

Caroline Dinenage, Minister for State and Digital

The courses have proved attractive to a wide variety of participants,
including:

  • women (47% of surveyed learners are
    women),
  • people outside of the traditional
    university age cohort (more than half of surveyed learners are over the age of
    25)
  • people who are looking for work or
    are at different points in their career (19% of surveyed learners are
    unemployed or looking for work and 48% are working full-time, part-time or are self-employed.)

Reception of the digital skills courses has been very positive, with
most courses averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars and learners commenting on their
usefulness in terms of careers and prospects.

Minister of
State for Digital and Culture, Caroline Dinenage said: “I’m pleased such a diverse group of learners
is reaping the benefits of these fantastic courses and I urge anyone looking to
improve their digital know-how to sign up.


“Our digital economy can help power the UK’s economic recovery from
coronavirus and we are determined to make sure everyone can develop the digital
skills they need to succeed in the workplace.”

Minister
for Apprenticeships and Skills, Gillian Keegan said: “It is
wonderful to see so many people from a wide range of backgrounds are engaging
with online learning to boost their knowledge. Online courses, such as those on
The Skills Toolkit, are an excellent way to gain the vital digital and numeracy
skills most valued by employers.

“With 82%
of all job openings requiring at least basic digital skills it is more
important than ever that people are able to build their confidence and learn
the skills they need to succeed.

“I’d
encourage anyone looking to learn some new skills or boost their knowledge,
from graduates to those already in the workplace, to go online and take
advantage of the wide range of free, high-quality courses available.”

“ This is a testament to the teams involved in designing and creating the courses who have used our research in this area to ensure they represent and portray the target audience, and offer engaging, interactive, learning opportunities inclusive to all.”

Professor Neil Morris, Dean of Digital Education, University of Leeds

Professor
Neil Morris, Dean of Digital Education, University of Leeds said: “It is
fantastic to see these online courses proving so valuable to individuals who
will be able to use the knowledge and skills gained to start, or progress,
their careers.

“It is particularly pleasing to see these courses reaching, and
appealing to, people who have not traditionally engaged with Massive Open
Online Courses. This is a testament to the teams involved in designing and
creating the courses who have used our research in this area to ensure they
represent and portray the target audience, and offer engaging, interactive,
learning opportunities inclusive to all.”

The Digital Education Service provides learners with opportunities to engage, collaborate and learn in creative ways at a pace that suits them. This can be as part of campus-based programmes, online courses for international learners, or bespoke courses for external partners.

For further information,
please contact the University of Leeds Press Office, via
pressoffice@leeds.ac.uk.





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