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Free online skills training for furloughed workers

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The government is offering free online courses to adults at home due to the coronavirus lockdown, including the millions who have been furloughed from their jobs.

The courses will cover skills highly valued by employers such as numeracy, digital marketing and using social media, the Department for Education said.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said he wants businesses to encourage furloughed employees to use the courses to “improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak”.

Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the Confederation of British Industry, said online learning is a great way for people to upgrade their skills and that “maths and digital skills are highly prized by employers”.

The Skills Toolkit is available online from today, with courses developed by Google, Open University, the University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding.

Helen Milner, chief executive of Good Things Foundation said: “It’s at times like this that people start to think about the skills they might want for the future.”

She said 11.9 million people in the UK still do not have “the essential digital skills for life and work”.

According to government figures, 82% of all job vacancies require digital skills and roles requiring digital skills pay 29% more than those that don’t.

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