A new Tech City scheme will give UK residents access to free online digital skills courses

Free digital skills courses offered by Tech City

Free online digital skills courses from Cambridge University will be offered by a government-backed scheme to make the UK a "global technology powerhouse".

Those who sign up will have the choice of eight existing courses from Cambridge University Judge Business School and University College London (UCL) designed to help students get into the digital side of business, or grow an idea of their own.

The new Digital Business Academy will feature course subjects ranging from business development, to marketing or finance, and contain video, text and practical exercises, with each course taking between three and six weeks to complete.

"This is important because there's a lack of people prepared as business becomes digital – I don't think there is a business in the world now that isn't digital in some way, but I think the education system takes time to change to these things," said Baroness Shields, the Prime Minister's digital adviser and chairman of Tech City UK

"This new revolution creates the opportunity for people to learn in their own time. It's amazing to be able to access content from Cambridge University and UCL – two of the top 10 universities in the world, and to have access to their courses and content for free is really exciting."

The scheme, which has been put together by Tech City UK in collaboration with UCL, uses a version of the university's online learning platform and those who sign up will receive guidance from experts at partner businesses including the BBC, Microsoft and Twitter.


Speaking about the new scheme, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "Ensuring that our people and businesses have world-class digital skills so they can compete in the economy of the future is a key part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.

"We have put coding into the school curriculum and our rollout of superfast broadband, backed by over £1bn government investment in our digital infrastructure, has now passed more than 1.5 million homes and businesses and is reaching 40,000 more each week.

“Building on this, the Digital Business Academy will open up our great universities and provide the know-how to help hardworking people get on in life, reinforcing the UK's position as a leading digital economy."

Russ Shaw of Tech London Advocates, a private sector group of technology experts and investors, said earlier this year that there is a "shortage of talent" for digital businesses to call upon as the sector continues to grow.

However Baroness Shields said she hopes the accessibility and range of courses offered by the Digital Business Academy will begin to close that gap.

"(It) represents a new revolution in education, providing access to world-leading universities and great digital minds for free. Whether you are a mother returning to the workplace or a new graduate full of ideas, securing top-notch digital and technical skills is essential,” she said.

"The Digital Business Academy will open up digital opportunities to people irrespective of age, background or pre-qualifications. For anyone who wants to learn, we provide the practical skills you need to start your own digital business or to thrive in any digital company."

Visit the Digital Business Academy website for more information.

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