BUSINESSES in Dorset are being given the chance to skill up their workforce with an innovative online digital marketing course – for free.
And companies in Bournemouth and the surrounding areas who sign up to the fully funded nationally accredited course, Digital Promotion for Business, will also receive at no charge their own tailored free smartphone app worth £3,000.
Offered by Digital Dorset, the programme aims to improve the skills needed to increase the competitiveness of businesses and give the best opportunity to grow the economy and create more and better jobs.
It is thought 12.6 million adults in the UK lack basic digital skills, while 5.8 million have never used the internet at all, according to a recent report.
The Level 2 NCFE accredited distance-learning course aims to meet the demand for digital media for businesses and is online so employees can complete the course at their own speed.
Content includes help on how to use more effectively social networking sites such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to boost a business’s online presence.
The smartphone app complements the digital marketing strategy and offers a wide range of features to attract new customers and keep in touch with current customers.
These include push notifications - free messages sent out to people who have downloaded the app – and a loyalty scheme to retain custom and social media integration.
Neil Harding, managing director of Digital Dorset, said: “The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind online.
“We are all spending more and more time on our mobiles, tablets and laptops, while many of our working days are also spent in front of a screen.
“That’s why businesses need to understand how working practices are changing, and this course has been developed to meet this need.
“With this offer, not only does the business invest in its workforce by upskilling them, it also gets a free app to market itself using a medium that its customers are using more and more.”
Places and funding are limited