New learning website launched for Portsmouth residents to develop new skills

FURLOUGHED employees and other adults across the city can now benefit from a national website to help use their time productively to develop new skills during lockdown.

Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 6:33 pm
Portsmouth City Council's cabinet member for education, Cllr Suzy Horton, has welcomed the new adult learning website but feels people shouldn't feel too pressurised to enrol.

The Department for Education (DfE) has today (Tuesday 28) launched its new, free online courses in digital skills. The government hope the initiative will help people use their time productively to work through the job related job-related courses in numeracy, coding and internet skills.

Speaking in advance of the launch, Education secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: ‘This platform will improve knowledge, build confidence and support mental health so people have the skills they need to succeed after the coronavirus outbreak.’

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The initiative has been welcomed by Portsmouth City Council’s cabinet member for education, Suzy Horton.

Cllr Horton said: ‘I certainly welcome this platform as if someone is in a position to upskill themselves then that is a positive.’

While Cllr Horton feels the website could potentially benefit participants’ mental wellbeing she doesn’t feel people should feel under too much pressure to enrol on courses.

‘This opportunity is really positive if it‘s perceived as an option of choice rather than people feeling pressurised into enrolling. While the courses will benefit some people in keeping them mentally active and developing new skills I feel that undue pressure to use this time productively can also be bad for mental health.

‘A lot of people already have a lot of anxiety over health and economic worries. These are unique circumstances and this experience will be very different for different groups of people.’

A significant proportion of the course has been provided by Google – who have provided tutorials and workshops on digital marketing – and The Open University which has created a course in basic maths and computer coding. Digital education providers, FutureLearn, have also contributed to the website with sessions covering how to produce online content.The DfE believes the online training during lockdown is preparation for the post-virus economy in which digital-related jobs are expected to be more resilient than other occupations.