Adults at home during the coronavirus lockdown, including millions furloughed from their jobs, now have access to free online courses to improve their digital skills.

The Department for Education has launched a collection of job-related online courses to help people use the lockdown to acquire additional skills for when more businesses reopen.

The Open University and Google are among the providers.


With uncertainty over the labour market in the months ahead, the adult training is focused on improving skills for online related jobs, with the expectation that more people will be working remotely.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says businesses should encourage staff to “boost their skills”.

He urges furloughed employees to “improve their knowledge, build their confidence and support their mental health so they have skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak”.

The ‘Skills Toolkit’ is now live on government website. The offer includes:

  • The Open University is providing courses on basic maths and how to write computer code
  • Futurelearn is offering courses in digital skills and producing online content
  • Google has a course in digital marketing
  • Digital-inclusion charity the Good Things Foundation has resources to help people get started online

It is believed these courses will help prepare employers for the post-coronavirus economy.