The Department of Education is aiming to tap into the captive audience of British consumers in lockdown with the launch of a free online learning platform - run by Google, the Institute of Coding and the Open University, among others - to improve the nation’s digital skills.
Dubbed The Skills Toolkit, the Government scheme - which offers digital and numerical courses - will boost skillsets, help people progress at work and, ultimately, increase workers’ job prospects.
The courses range from basic digital skills, such as email shortcuts and social media best practices, to more advanced subjects like cyber security and coding.
The Covid-19 lockdown is forcing more and more people to adopt digital skills, either to continue working or to connect with friends and family. For those who have been furloughed, the government suggests that it could be an opportunity to get ahead of the curve and pick up skills for the future.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: "The high-quality and free to access courses on offer will help those whose jobs have been affected by the outbreak, and people looking to boost their skills while they are staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
"I want businesses to encourage their furloughed employees to use The Skills Toolkit to improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health."
The University of Leeds and the Institute of Coding are running courses from basic maths to tutorials in creating online content, Google Digital Garage is offering courses on digital marketing and the Open University running lessons how to code for data analysis.
Industry body TechUK has backed the programme. Chief executive Julian David said: "[We’re] pleased to see the Government taking an active role in signposting and motivating the public to take advantage of the digital skills training industry offers, TechUK has long advocated for a move in this direction. Digital skills will be crucial to the future of the UK economy and our recovery from the Covid crisis."