Plans launched to boost digital skills for adults


New essential digital skills qualifications will be available from 2020, and digital Functional Skills qualifications from 2021. The new qualifications will be fully funded up to Level 1 for anyone over the age of 19.

The new national entitlement from 2020 will fully fund adults with no or low digital skills to undertake the new qualifications. They will be supported to use digital devices like tablets, smart phones and laptop computers and to perform everyday activities like how to navigate the internet, send an email and make online payments.

The announcement follows a 12-week consultation and extensive work with a wide range of providers, employers, subject experts, Ofqual, awarding organisations and digital inclusion charities.


The new offer will comprise of:

  • a range of new essential digital skills qualifications, available from 2020, that will meet new conditions and requirements set by independent exams regulator Ofqual
  • digital Functional Skills qualifications, available from 2021, that will support progression into employment or further education and develop skills for everyday life


Essential digital skills qualifications will be at least 30 GLH and no larger than 50 GLH in size, and will be fully funded up to level 1. In the longer term, the Government has said it will consider extending the entitlement to level 2

Providers will be required to carry out a thorough initial assessment to determine an individual’s current skills level using an assessment tool based on the new national essential digital skills standards, and to enrol the individual on a level above that at which they were assessed and be able to provide evidence of this. 

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Make sure you have your say on the proposed subject content for new digital functional skills qualifications. Take part in the consultation


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