More than one hundred businesses across Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly have benefitted from digital training through the Progressing Businesses through Digital Skills project in its first year.

The project, part-funded by the European Social Fund, is being led by Digital Peninsula Network (DPN) and launched last April with the aim to help businesses grow their online presence and increase the digital skills of their staff.

Under the project, people working for businesses in Cornwall have joined different training sessions and workshops including Working with Excel, Website Development, Virtual Events, Online Selling, Social Media Marketing, and more. Around half of the learners completed qualifications earning them professional certificates in digital skills.

“Helping people to build their digital skills and compete in a changing marketplace is vital to Cornish businesses and the local economy,” said DPN managing director, Janus Howard.

“The Progressing Businesses through Digital Skills project has given us a timely opportunity to offer digital training and support to Cornish businesses, many of whom have had to suddenly adapt to reach customers online during the pandemic.”

Much of the training has been delivered virtually. DPN made the move to remote homeworking and fully digitalised operations in February last year to ensure the project could overcome restrictions on physical training and still be delivered. Online learning has helped businesses bridge the digital skills gap, especially those who would have previously been geographically challenged to participate in training.

Trish Peacock, Council of the Isles of Scilly skills manager, is a partner on the project and added: “DPN have been able to offer digital skills training online which for our local businesses, means now being able to join in with training without having to travel to the mainland as well as networking with other businesses and picking up new skills.”

The project aims to help at least 450 businesses in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly by improving the digital skills of their staff by the end of 2023. DPN is partnering with Truro & Penwith College, Council of the Isles of Scilly and Penzance Bid to make digital skill training accessible for businesses in Cornwall.