Want to boost your digital (and other) skills? Now is the best time to do it

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To be clear, anytime is a good time to improve your digital skills. It’s just that right now with so many things moving online due to the pandemic, digital literacy has become more important than ever before. Experts estimate that the response to the pandemic has fast-forwarded digital adoption by five years and as a result, we need to adapt new ways of creating and providing value. This applies to many aspects of our lives, especially work. With businesses shifting to new models, digital skills, together with the appropriate soft skills, have to meet this acceleration and change.

It’s a good thing that with this pandemic comes opportunity. With people spending more time at home and the abundance of free courses available online, we have the best combination of opportunity meeting preparation right in front of us.

Boosting your digital skills

There are several programs for newcomers who wish to improve their digital skills. You can learn how to set up a computer, surf the net, use an email app or software like Microsoft Windows (Read 8 Digital skills that make you employable and help you succeed in the workplace to know more about digital skills you need in the Canadian workplace) for free. Some examples:

  1. Tech Manitoba’s Computer Basics 101 – This is a series of YouTube videos focused on Windows-based computers provided by Computers for All. However, you can follow along if you’re setting up your own Windows-based computer. The easy-to-follow videos show basic how-tos from navigating the desktop to working with photos and images.
  2. English Online’s Digital Skills at Work (Multi-Week Workshop) – This is a four-week course focusing on digital skills required to succeed in your career in Canada. Check our events calendar for availability.
  3. Lynda Library – Besides the basics, this learning portal will help you gain business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Winnipeg Public Library Card holders can use Lynda for free.
  4. EDGE Skills Centre Inc.’s Employment Essentials – EDGE provides a free computer fundamentals course as well as career and employment training. Contact EDGE to sign up for this in-person program.
  5. Tech Manitoba – Offers entry-level computer training delivered in partnership with newcomer settlement provider organizations all over Manitoba. In-person schedules to resume in Sept-Oct. 2020.
  6. Immigrant Centre’s Computer Training – Trainings from basic computer use to specific software programs are on pause at this time. Check their page to know when classes will resume.

Skill-building online courses (learn soft skills and specialized programs):

  1. Microsoft and LinkedIn Learning (ending on March 2021) – Microsoft, using the LinkedIn Learning platform, is offering 14 learning paths available for free. These 14 are the key jobs and horizontal skills that are most in-demand in today’s economy. The courses are available in English, French, Spanish, and German. You’ll also get a free certificate of completion that you can add to your LinkedIn profile. Here’s another link to the courses: Microsoft launches initiative.
  2. Class Central – Its Free Learning due to Coronavirus page gathers free learning content or heavily discounted courses on a variety of topics. The page is updated regularly.
  3. Udemy – All of their online classes are discounted until Sept. 30. Popular programs include the sign language course, Microsoft Excel course, an iPhone photography course, and a $25 CAD web development course that originally cost $205. Other courses go for as low as $14.
  4. Certified Technicians and Technologists Association of Manitoba (CCTAM) – This organization is the regulatory body within the Province of Manitoba for engineering and applied science technicians and technologists. They offer paid and free courses on various technical and non-technical topics.
  5. Workplace Education Manitoba – Their Learning on Demand program has courses like Communicating in the Workplace, Essential Skills for Online, Speaking to the Skills I Have, and other career-boosting courses (online programs are discounted at $99 + GST).

If it’s your first time to enroll in an online course, you can make your experience more rewarding by using self-directed learning tools. Read 5 best techniques to boost self-directed learning to set yourself in the right direction and frame of mind to succeed.
Sources: Lack of skills threatens digital transformation, Scott Engler, Smarter with Gartner; and Enhance your soft skills and give your career a competitive edge, Digital Skills Global. Accessed September 4, 2020.

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Community Resources

Read 5 quick tips for navigating the internet like a pro and Be media smart! Assessing online information in 5 steps to boost your digital literacy and protect yourself from fake news and online scams.

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