BACK TO SCHOOL: SURGE IN BRITONS UPSKILLING DURING LOCKDOWN

·    OVER HALF OF UK WORKFORCE FEAR LOSING THEIR JOB AS A RESULT OF PANDEMIC

·    HOWEVER ONE IN THREE BRITONS ARE USING LOCKDOWN TO IMPROVE THEIR CAREER PROSPECTS

·    LEARNING PLATFORM LAUNCHED TO HELP FURLOUGHED STAFF PICK UP NEW SKILLS

With Britons in lockdown now having more free time on their hands that increasing numbers of people are taking the opportunity to learn new skills to improve their career prospects for when the pandemic ends – the latest research suggests.

One in three (33%) Britons are using their spare time during lockdown to pick up new skills and qualifications – according to new research from Pearson UK. In fact, one in ten (12%) have already taken advantage of online courses, while one in twenty (5%) have turned to friends and family to act as teachers.

With uncertainty over the labour market expected in the months ahead, over half of those who are still working, or are on furlough, (57%) worry about losing their job, with one in five (20%) very concerned. Perhaps unsurprisingly, those on furlough are most anxious of the prospect of losing their job (73%).

Moreover, there are also major concerns about the prospect of long-term redundancy, with two in three (67%) of those who have lost their jobs or on furlough worried about what impact the pandemic will have on their future.

However the research does indicate that many Britons are taking matters into their own hands by getting themselves upskilled and ready for the future after lockdown. Google searches for ‘online courses’ are up 300% since lockdown and those aged 18-35 are the most likely to say that they have taken to developing their skills at home – with nearly 60% doing so compared to one in three (37%) people aged 36-54.

This greater appetite for at home learning among younger people could be driven by worries over job insecurity, with over two-thirds (68%) of those aged 18-35 saying they are concerned about losing their job compared to just over half (55%) of people at or approaching middle age. Men, more of whom are concerned about losing their job than women, are 14% are likely to get up at the crack of dawn to begin studying.