Feb 06
Free digital skills training courses

Digital skills training – free courses in the UK

Few people would argue with the idea that digital skills are key to modern life. Job searches and applications, marketing your business, entertainment, general communication. All of them are increasingly handled online nowadays. The speed and responsiveness of the digital world is great for those of us able to make use of it. But what about for those of us in need of digital skills training?

What do you do if you can’t tell your .pdf from your .docx, let alone make head nor tail of online marketing technology? Those without access to or the knowledge to use the vast power of the internet are being slowly left behind as society digitises.

There are all sorts of digital skills training opportunities available in the UK but many come with price tags that can make them infeasible for the unemployed or even small business owners. Luckily there are also those that seek to spread knowledge for the betterment of society. As such we’ve devoted this week’s article to two organisations who offer their training completely free of charge!

Google Digital Garage

Combining a long-running commitment to improving society with resources most of us can only dream about, it’s not surprising that tech superstar Google has set up a free digital skills training scheme.

From understanding the basics of how websites work through to long term marketing strategies and expanding your business internationally, the Digital Garage website has all sorts of excellent information in easy to access courses.  

But wait a minute, wasn’t this supposed to be useful to those of us without access to the internet? Indeed, and to that end, the Digital Garage also has several fixed locations across the country where their staff can deliver talks and one-to-one training in person. Currently these are in Manchester and Edinburgh but new ones open and close periodically.

If these are still out of reach, Google also employs a small army of travelling trainers who seem to get just about everywhere. They have, for instance, recently been on a tour of the UK’s small market towns to bring the good word of online marketing to traders there. You can check out the website for upcoming dates and locations or even book them for your own event!

Tech Nation – Digital Business Academy

Tech Nation has been helping businesses to start up and grow for years. So it makes total sense that they would have their own online learning platform to help even more businesses. Their online resources are fantastic for learning the basic entrepreneurial skills you need to get your business going.

The best part of this course (besides being free of course!) is that it covers the bits that many start-up and growth programmes don’t cover. Learning how to not run out of money and how to scale your business to an international level are all covered here. Another bonus to completing this course is that it rewards you for learning! You can accrue points as you learn which you can then spend on other rewards for your business. These include mentoring sessions, time working from a co-working space and even funding opportunities.

over 60% of people who take this course go on to start a business or grow one. If running your own business is high on your bucket list, then this is a great place to start!


In a technology-filled world, we need digital skills. The Duke of York award aims to do just that! iDEA lets you learn digital skills from entry point to more advanced levels. Their online training platform can be completed in your own time at a pace that suits you. As you learn, you unlock badges in the Duke of York award, giving you real evidence of your ability level.

As you advance through each module, the lessons will teach you through storytelling, puzzles, and scenarios. They always keep the learning fun and engaging so there is no risk of getting bored. The training can be taken in teams and ideal for schools or classrooms. The free training with iDEA is perfect for anyone looking to increase their job prospects.


Lloyd’s Bank Academy

With a name like that you’d be forgiven for thinking that this scheme taught people about making sound investments. It is instead a new addition to the to the digital skills training workshops available in the UK. Like Google Digital Garage, it is free for those who wish to attend. However, in contrast to Google’s nationwide offering, The Lloyd’s scheme has a very clear geographical focus (for the time being at least!) on the Greater Manchester area.

Launched on 5th December last year, the Academy was conceived after Consumer Digital Index research demonstrated a quarter of the North West’s population lacks basic digital skills. One in ten of the population is not even online. This is obviously a problem when many workplaces, government services and job hunting activities require access to and knowledge of the digital world. As such the academy provides a boot camp in basic digital and employability skills like using and manipulating digital documents, email for work, CV writing and interview prep.

Providing face to face learning opportunities at various venues around the city, as well as online courses, the academy aims to increase local digital skills and so prepare the workforce for a digital future. Especially important with Greater Manchester being a growing hub in the European tech scene

For those of you in the area, it seems like a fantastic opportunity you should definitely take advantage of.


Here at Upskill we also try to play our part in demystifying the world of tech so everyone can make use of it to improve their business. Head over to our blog if you want to check out some other great articles with tips on everything from email marketing to efficient goal setting


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