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Digital skills for people in employment


 Project Brief

UKSPF Interventions - E37: Tailored support to help people in employment.


Preston experiences challenges associated with skills gaps, low pay and economic inactivity. There is an abundance of job vacancies available in the city, with a large proportion of these being in professional occupations with higher skills requirements. Meanwhile, a growing a number of individuals are choosing to leave the labour market and not return. This means that there are less workers available to take up these positions.

Digital skills are becoming increasingly important in the modern workplace. Businesses need an understanding of topics such as cyber security and marketing on social media to survive and grow. The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the need for digital skills within organisations, as more roles are becoming hybrid and requiring the use of online platforms for remote working. However, the UK faces challenges with a significant number of people who lack the basic skills needed in the workplace.

Preston similarly experiences this issue, with significant cohorts of workers in the city, particularly older workers, who lack the digital skills required for the modern workplace. These workers may be at risk of redundancy, lack the skills needed for career progression, and/or may choose to leave the workplace due to being uncomfortable with the growing digital aspects of employment.

Programme Outline

This programme will address the issues outlined above by providing access to a range of digital skills to support businesses and individuals to upskill and adapt to the modern, digital workplace.

The aim is to support businesses to survive and grow, and to help individuals to access, retain and progress in employment.

The programme should cover topics such as:

  • Online marketing (including social media).
  • Digital platforms.
  • Cyber security essentials.
  • Software systems.
  • Essential digital skills for employees as outlined by FutureDotNow.

The programme should offer a mix of unaccredited and accredited qualifications. Example qualifications that could be included are:

  • Certificate in Understanding Data Protection and Data Security
  • Certificate in Digital Skills Level 1
  • Certificate in Digital Skills for the Workplace Level 2
  • Certificate in IT user skills

We particularly encourage staff from SMEs to apply to take part in these skills development courses as businesses of this size are highly prevalent in the city and often have more limited capacity to deliver in-house staff training.

Courses should be delivered in person or through a blended approach of online and face to face elements. (Face to face elements can include online face to face delivery through apps such as Teams and Zoom).  Whatever the mode of delivery we expect all training participants to receive individual support, assessment and feedback from a qualified tutor.

The project should offer a range of course lengths, with most leading to formal qualifications, but the project can also deliver less formal top-up skills and knowledge where appropriate. 

We expect providers to meet with the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub at the outset of the project to gain local intelligence and links to relevant stakeholders.  

Financial Profile




Total Expenditure

Year 24/25





Number of people supported to participate in education.


Number of people in employment engaging with the skills system.


Number of people attending training sessions


Number of people supported to gain a qualification



People gaining a qualification or completing a course following support


* The output and outcome figures shown are the minimum which Preston City Council expects the available funding to deliver.

Applicants applying for the full amount would be expected to meet these targets as a minimum. Where an applicant is applying for a share of the funding, we expect outputs and outcomes to be delivered in proportion to the share applied for.


Project Timeline

  • Date of launch for commissioning - 8 November 2023
  • Deadline for receipt of applications - 15 December 2023 at 17:00
  • Notification of whether applications have been successful - 8 January 2024
  • Issuing of grant agreements, commencement of projects - 1 April 2024
  • Project end - 31 March 2025

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