Digital Skills Support for Businesses and Charities

There is a variety of webinars, online skills training and self-help guides available to help with some of the new skills we now need whilst working from home.

Interested in AI?


In Feb 2024, Google ran a series of 90min webinars led by gen AI experts to support learning on how to transform your business. All are available on demand.  Aimed at a range of levels and experience with gen AI.

Content includes: learning to leverage Generative AI on Vertex AI, including Gemini, across a number of focus areas, including:

  • Multimodality: using text, image, and videos with Gemini
  • Text: prompt design, conversational chat apps & custom API’s for LLM solutions
  • Image: image generation & deploying apps combining language and images
  • Speech: Text-to-speech and speech-to-text & deploying a conversational chat app
  • Code: Code generation and completion and to accelerate data analysis/data science and more.

Week one included: Generative AI: Hype vs. Reality and limitations, Good and bad use cases for generative AI, Sample use cases by industry, How to come up with generative AI use cases for your organization.

If you need something a step back from the above conversation, linked to the Grow Google resources – the Learn the basics AI – may be of more use.  This 6 weeks self-paced course created by Minna Learning and the University of Helsinki encourages a broad group to learn what AI is, what can and can’t be done with AI and how to start creating AI methods.

Microsoft Co-Pilot

The Microsoft Learn programme – Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 executive challenge – Microsoft states that this training programme allows you to, “discover how Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365 elevates workplace productivity and innovation.” It is tailored for “the modern business leader, provides insights on crafting contextual prompts for Copilot and includes engaging use case exercises that showcase seamless integration into daily workflows”.

It gives a 30min introduction to Copilot and how it fits with Microsoft 365. A second 30min module covers how to craft effective prompts. A final 1 hour executive productivity module covering topics such as creating a slide presentation or a speech using Copilot, enhancing content creation and collaboration skills and summarizing chat and channel threads using Copilot in Teams.

A second learning programme is Transform your business with Microsoft AI – 4 modules in total:

  • Leverage AI tools and resources for your business (55min)
  • Create business value from AI (27min)
  • Embrace responsible AI principles and practices (53min)
  • Scale AI in your organisation (36min)

Also there are learning pathways for leaders in different sectors – Discover Microsoft AI for leaders in…healthcare, finance, sustainability, retail, manufacturing.

Digital Boost


Digital Boost are a community of digital professionals who want to help small businesses and charities upskill and grow. They offer one-to-one mentoring, webinars and workshops (topics chosen by small businesses and charities) and a range of online self-paced learning from their 1600+ partners (including BT, McCann, Google, Vodafone, Future Learn).

Digital Boost match organisations who need to upskill with digital experts for free one-to-one mentoring, as well as make personalised recommendations for courses, workshops and resources.

You can sign up to receive support or if you have skills to give, sign up as a mentor.


Webinars and Regular Events

Boost – Lancashire’s Growth Hub for Business

Boost have a range of training available for Businesses of all types – you can browse their full events page to see them all.

Barclays – Digital Wings

The Barclays Digital Wings platform has a range of pre-recorded webinars covering topics such as: data privacy, safety online, growing your business with data. The list of live events can be seen here and some may be relevant to you as a business owner.

BT Skills for Tomorrow

BT and their partners are offering a range of webinars to help SME owners and their employees improve their digital and employability skills through online tools, social media advice and new digital tips and tricks, empowering them with the skills they need today, for tomorrow. View here for full list of webinars.

Google Digital Garage

Google have put together a number of webinars that fall in to three categories: Grow Your Skills, Grow Your Business and Grow Your Career – covering a range of topics, for example: digital marketing and social media strategy. Dates range until the end of April (at present).

The Growing Club, Lancaster

You can keep updated with all activity offered by The Growing Club by following their page @TheGrowingClubNorthwest on Facebook or visit their website.

They have regular Thursday lunchtime 12.30 to 2pm drop ins for networking, peer support and accountability –  “where you can come and chat about anything business or employment related.”

Lloyds Bank Academy

Alongside the free resources available, Lloyds Bank Academy are hosting some online and interactive sessions where you will hear from experts, pick up key tips and tricks and have time to do some virtual networking.

Lots of webinars are available and recordings of ones that have already taken can be found here: LB Academy Interactive Webinars

Pink Link

Pink Link Business network have a series of online masterclasses including some that are digitally focused. You can find out more about what masterclasses are available and more about the Network here.

Collaboration Tools

Google MeetImage result for google hangouts meet – There is a range of free, online training on how to use Google Workspace and its products including Meet. Starting with a quick intro guide. More information can be found here.

Microsoft TeamsImage result for microsoft teams – Free online training on how to use Teams and managing meetings online can be found here.

Image result for zoom

The free version of Zoom enables video conferencing with unlimited 121 calls, group calls with 40 min limit and chat functions.

Check out Zoom here.                   

Slack is an online tool that helps people work together and collaborate as easily online as they do in person. It’s designed to support the way people naturally work together, making collaborating with people online as easy and efficient as it is face-to-face. To get your head around how it works and what it is, Slack has a range of training materials available including a Slack 101 guide for those new to it and a hints and tips section as well.

Free Courses to Develop Digital and Technical Skills

Barclays – Digital Wings

The Digital Wings resources covers online training covering business, skills for work, home and essential digital skills. For business and charities, everything from cybersecurity to digital skills to run a voluntary club more efficiently. There are also live and pre-recorded webinars.

Find more details here.

Enterprise Nation

Enterprise Nation is a community of small businesses and business advisers that exist to shortcut your route to trusted business support.  Whether you’re starting or growing a business, they have the resources to help you. Free to join. You can view their full range of e-learning here.

Excel Training

Microsoft offer a number of pre-recorded videos to understand the Excel tool which can be found here. There are also 324 on-demand videos with trainers available here.

Be aware – there are some paid for private sessions that you can sign up to but there is so much free training videos, start there!

There is also lots of free Microsoft 365 training devised by Microsoft – have a look here.

Learn My Way

Learn My Way from The Good Things Foundation has courses on Google, Outlook, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and productivity tools.

Lloyds Academy

The Lloyds Academy has wide array of training available for businesses to “unlock the business benefits of digital”.  Categories of training include:

  • Managing finances
  • Understanding your customers
  • Improving your website
  • Managing your business online
  • Using social media
  • Staying safe and secure

OpenLearn by The Open University

OpenLearn is a free learning platform, delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the well-being of the community. Here you will find almost 1,000 free courses, topical and interactive content, videos and online games. Some of the most relevant today are:

Free ContentCal Training – How to get found online – Mastering Content Planning

Catch up on demand with this training on how to develop content – outlines 6 free tools to help you including:  Days of the Year, Mentionlytics, Best Hashtags, ContentCal and Hypeauditor.