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The Open University in Wales helps provide online training for furloughed workforce during coronavirus pandemic

The Open University in Wales has been working with the Welsh Government to provide new e-learning for workers furloughed as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19). The package of support was announced by Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates AM, on Monday 20 April.

The newly launched, informal e-learning provision is aimed at helping furloughed workers to improve their knowledge levels across a broad range of areas, while supporting their mental wellbeing and helping them to prepare for the future.

Budding learners can visit the Working Wales website where they will be signposted to a range of free online resources that will help them to refresh their skill sets.

This is a hugely challenging and difficult time for all of us. We want to support those workers who have been furloughed and provide them with easy to access opportunities to improve their skills, maintain their mental health, and potentially think about future careers options.

Workers taking this time to acquire new skills and knowledge will also be hugely helpful as we all work to ensure the Welsh economy is in the best possible position to bounce back from this pandemic.

Through this initiative we are providing a wide range of free online learning resources, many of which are bilingual, from trusted providers like The Open University, and I strongly encourage our furloughed workface to take a look at what is on offer.

Ken Skates
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales

Nikki Lawrence, chief executive of Careers Wales, said:

'We know these are uncertain times for many people who have been placed on furlough leave and our Working Wales service is here to help.' 

'By raising awareness of a range of informal e-learning that people can complete online, we can support them to enhance their existing skills, learn something new and support their wellbeing.' 

Louise Casella, director of The Open University in Wales added:

'Staying at home for this extended period is challenging for most of us, but it is causing particular uncertainty for staff who have been placed on furlough leave. During this difficult time, there is an opportunity for people to learn something new at home providing some much-needed stimulation and a boost to well-being.' 

'Online learning with the OU can help people gain some new skills and improve their knowledge in a subject, ready for when they return to work. The OU has world leading expertise and capability in the delivery of online teaching and all the short courses on our OpenLearn platform are free. Users can register whenever they choose and learn at their own pace, balancing the course with other responsibilities.' 

'Through OpenLearn, we have a wide range of over 1,000 short courses including sections on managing mental health and wellbeing, information on COVID-19 for nursing and healthcare staff, and resources designed to help businesses during this challenging time. We have some courses that have been produced in Wales, and others that are of a Welsh interest or available through the medium of Welsh. These include courses on Rural Entrepreneurship, Everyday Skills in English and Maths, and a beginner course for Welsh learners.'

The free online resources include:

Information and professional careers advice and guidance also continues to be available over the telephone, online and through the Working Wales web chat facility.

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