Stand out from the crowd by learning vital digital skills for free

UNEMPLOYMENT has hit its highest level for almost five years, with 1.72million now out of work.

So standing out from the crowd is key when trying to land one of the 578,000 vacancies out there. These four free initiatives can help jobseekers gain skills.

An Hour To Skill: This campaign urges you to set aside 60 minutes each week for online learning.

Companies including Amazon Web Services, Cisco and Microsoft offer more than 70 courses in areas such as computer essentials and professional development.

Apprenticeships and Skills minister Gillian Keegan said: “Research shows people who under-take further online learning can earn around £3,640 extra a year.”

  • Find courses at

Jolt: This business school is creating hundreds of six-month work placements with top tech firms as part of its Kickstart scheme.

UK boss Oliver Beach said: “Not only will Kickstart offer young people the opportunity to work and learn with some of the country’s most innovative companies, we will give them the employability skills they need to build their careers, whatever they decide to pursue.”

After losing her job in the hospitality industry during the first lockdown, Holly Ashdown retrained with Jolt on its Switch course.

The 29-year-old Londoner said: “After many, many template rejection emails, I took the course to re-motivate myself. It covered all aspects of tech business combined with self-development, CV and LinkedIn guidance.

“It really brings your motivation back and you get to meet great people, increasing your network.”

  • Apply at

Make It Click: This offers online learning resources, from beginner courses on word processing and spreadsheets to using social media and making presentations.

More than half of business leaders say digital skills are the most important thing they look for in potential employees.

Helen Milner, of the Good Things Foundation, which runs the scheme, said: “Mastering and accessing digital skills can have a hugely positive impact on employees and benefits their overall wellbeing and work performance.”

  • See for details.

Key 4 Life: This crime-prevention charity helps young offenders into work placements while building their confidence and developing employability skills.

Participants are four times more likely to be employed a year after release than other young former prisoners.

Founder Eva Hamilton said: “Business leaders have the capacity to unlock the potential of young offenders and provide employment, which is the key to breaking the offending cycle.”

  • Learn more at


DELIVER the goods in a new role with Amazon.

The online giant has 232 jobs up for grabs, including customer service and warehouse positions.

  • Search at

Moving beyond retail

DUMPED by Debenhams? New buyer Boohoo has said it will close all 118 physical stores, leading to 12,000 job losses.

Kate Shoesmith, of the Recruitment & Employment Confederation, shares her tips for getting noticed by a new employer.

  1. Think about how to transfer your expertise to an industry that is hiring. This includes health and social care, logistics or IT.
  2. Take advantage of working from home. Lockdown means employers can hire staff in different regions, as they are able to work remotely.
  3. Tailor your CV and cover letter to each opportunity. The competition will be tough, so your application must be good enough to stand out from the pack. Ask a friend, family member or recruiter for advice and have someone check it over for mistakes.
  4. Consider temporary work. Businesses are looking for temporary staff to help them through the pandemic. Temping can add depth to your CV – and let you try out a new industry.
  5. Talk to a reputable recruiter. They are experts who can help you think through all the options and their advice will be free. Recruiters who are REC members are a good bet, as they will be following our code of ethics. You can find one on

Brum on down…

WOULD-BE students in the West Midlands can get their STEM degree fully funded with a scholarship from the Millennium Point Charitable Trust.

Now in its seventh year, the scheme offers one undergraduate complete funding for their degree from a choice of 20-plus courses at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering & the Built Environment at Birmingham City University.

Applicants must be 18 by September 2021, cannot be currently studying an undergraduate degree nor can they already hold one.

  • Interested? Be quick though, you need to apply by this Sunday, January 31, at


NATIONWIDE Building Society has 73 vacancies, with roles such as software engineers and member representatives.

  • Apply at

Stats all, folks

BECOME part of history with the Census 2021 team.

The Office for National Statistics is hiring 30,000 field staff across every region of England and Wales to encourage us to take part.

You must be at least 16 to apply but there are full-time and part-time roles, including some weekend and evening work.

Positions include officers to engage the local community, supervisors and managers.

Operations director Pete Benton said: “If you like talking to people, this is the role for you.

“They are Covid-safe and staff are equipped with PPE in line with Government guidance.

"Every post filled will help ensure communities across England and Wales are represented.”

  • Apply at

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