BT is proud to announce that it has reached its original goal of helping 10 million people across the UK to improve their digital skills, five years ahead of schedule. Key to achieving this milestone was the success of BT’s Top Tips on Tech campaign in partnership with ITV, which helped 5.7 million people learn vital new digital skills required during lockdown.
Today BT is setting an ambitious new goal that extends the target to reach 25 million people by the end of March 2026 through its BT Skills for Tomorrow programme – helping to tackle the digital divide and supporting the UK’s economic recovery. In line with BT’s purpose to Connect for Good, the new ambition aims to help more people across the UK have the skills they need to stay connected and make the most of life in the digital world.
The digital divide, which has been accelerated by the pandemic, has significantly impacted people’s lives at home and work. Through its ambitious new target, BT is committed to continuing to help a variety of people including children and their parents, older and more vulnerable people, to job seekers and small businesses.
The programme is completely free and offers a wide range of courses, webinars and advice. Anyone can access the programme which aims to boost people’s confidence and understanding of digital tools and technology to make daily life better and help them realise their long-term ambitions.
Through BT Skills for Tomorrow, Maggie Clough, 91, received support to use the internet for the first time this year, “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.”
Older people, many of whom can be more isolated, often lack the skills, confidence or motivation to get online. With BT’s renewed commitment, more people like Maggie will be given the resources they need to get online.
BT has supported 278,000 small business owners and their employees learn new skills and its Small Business Support Scheme continues to help thousands of struggling small businesses boost connectivity, cash flow and confidence.
BT’s Stand Out Skills campaign helped over 468,000 jobseekers develop their confidence and skills to stand out in their job search. Through Work Ready BT has helped more than 3,000 young people who are not in employment, education or training prepare for the world of work.
Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer, 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.”
Notes to Editors
The methodology used to measure the number of people BT Skills for Tomorrow reached includes attendance numbers and video views for physical and virtual events, as well as online learning resources and video content. For advertising campaigns, BT carries out dedicated independent research on a national representative sample of people, to understand how many people’s digital knowledge or confidence was improved as a result of these campaigns.
Case study quotes:
Sally House, parent of eight-year-old Alice who used BT Skills for Tomorrow learning games: “Alice played Code Cracking, The Diamond, Barefoot Zoo and Sorting It Out. She enjoyed the games and I love that she’s practising maths skills in a fun and different way and not realising she’s actually doing maths!”
Elaine Townshend, Department for Work and Pensions on JobCentres Plus: “I would like to thank Work Ready for developing and delivering this bespoke webinar for the Department for Work and Pensions. 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.”
Montana Japaul, Work Ready graduate and BT colleague: “The placement gives valuable skills to learn and take on, whatever job you go on to do. It helped me learn to stand out – you want to shine! It really boosted my confidence, I wasn’t scared to approach people, I just felt comfortable. I connected with lots of people and that led me to getting my current job at BT. Work Ready gave me confidence to try something new.”