The future of digital skills

It’s no secret that we live in a digital age, with technology advancing daily. With this in mind, the Department for Education (DfE) has acknowledged that the current ICT standards don’t reflect the world we live in and therefore need to be updated.

At the end of 2018 the DfE released a consultation on standards for the forthcoming new suite of Basic Digital Skills Qualifications (BDSQs).

As well as new standards, on which new qualifications for adults at entry level and level 1 will be made available, there are a few other changes the DfE proposes:

  • All entry level provision will be drawn together under the title of ‘beginner’. This level is designed for adults with little or no prior experience of using digital devices or the internet.

  • Level 1 provision will be referred to as ‘essential’, and aims to set out the knowledge and skills required to undertake the full range of digital tasks typically needed in life and work in an informed and safe manner. Examples of topics include;
    - evaluating online content
    - taking steps to manage online identity
    and understanding and exercising personal rights for controlling use of personal data.


  • New ‘skill areas’ will cover the key topics at each level;
    Handling information
    2. Creating and editing digital content
    3. Communicating
    4. Transacting
    5. Being safe and responsible online.
  • Foundation skills, (such as turning a device on, interacting with a screen, connecting to the internet) would not be covered under these new standards, so ensuring learners have these will remain an important pre requisite of the new BDSQs.

The somewhat shocking statistic that one in five people living in the UK do not have ‘basic digital skills’ will hopefully be combatted with the new qualifications in which learners will be able to enrol on free of charge from 2020. Although the consultation closed on the 10 January, there’ll be further opportunities to be involved in the development of these and we’ll of course keep you posted on developments.