The initiative originally aimed to help 10 million people across the UK to improve their digital skills. BT claims that it’s now reached its target and will subsequently extend the goal to reach 25 million people by the end of March 2026.
Connectivity, and being able to take full advantage of it, has been shown to be more critical than ever during the pandemic. One individual helped by the Skills for Tomorrow programme is 91-year-old Maggie Clough who received support to use the internet for the first time.
“I do get a little bit down sometimes. But just being able to talk to my family has helped a great deal. To be able to talk to and see them – it’s like a miracle to me,” Clough said.
As the world rebuilds from the pandemic, digital skills will be vital for people of all ages.
Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer at BT, said:
“Connectivity is playing a role like never before; whether that’s allowing you to work from home, keeping your kids entertained or staying in touch with friends and loved ones. It’s amazing that millions of people have been inspired by BT Skills for Tomorrow and are embracing technology to get through this really challenging time.
Through our digital skills initiative, we are committed to continuing to tackle these problems. That’s why we have set an ambitious new target to help people across the UK develop the skills they need to make the most of life in the digital world.
At BT, we want to lead the way in making sure technology helps people—ensuring we continue to build better digital lives.”
So far, BT says that it’s supported 278,000 small business owners and their employees to learn new skills.
BT’s Stand Out Skills campaign has helped over 469,000 jobseekers to develop skills that will stand out to potential employers. The company’s Work Ready initiative has also helped more than 3,000 young people who are not in employment, education, or training to prepare for the world of work.
Elaine Townshend, Department for Work and Pensions at JobCentres Plus, commented:
“A huge void was created during Covid-19 restrictions and our customers were missing out on mentoring and jobseeker skills.
Over 850 claimants have now participated in 30 districts and the feedback continues to be really positive.”
Earlier this week, BT announced a Home Essentials fibre tariff for eligible benefit claimants – including those on Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance – to help ensure that everyone can access the opportunities provided by a reliable internet connection.
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