Grant call for six Essential Digital Skills Champions

The ETF is offering six grants of £8,000 each to learning providers in the FE and Training sector to support a member of staff to become an Essential Digital Skills (EDS) Champion and run an EDS Reflective Exploration project involving at least 2 other members of staff.


To support FE practitioners to deliver the new digital entitlement for 16-19 year-olds and adults with no or low digital skills, the ETF has developed a professional development programme mapped to the Department for Education’s Essential Digital Skills Standards. The EDS Programme is led by Sero Consulting on behalf of the ETF and includes:

  • An interactive self-assessment tool to identify training needs, linked to training modules to respond to the differentiated spiky skills gap profiles of practitioners.
  • A series of 20 short online learning modules with teaching exemplars and advice on teaching contexts, as well as digital badges to recognise achievement.Online webinars to build confidence and share practice related to different teaching contexts.
  • Online community of practice to offer peer-to-peer support.

These resources are available on the Enhance Digital Teaching Platform.

The EDS CPD team now wish to recruit 6 EDS Champions to support this next phase of the programme. The EDS Champions will help colleagues to develop their essential digital skills through engagement with the EDS CPD programme and its community of practice.

The EDS Champion programme will commence in October 2021 and complete in March 2021. Within this time frame the EDS Champions will each lead a 10-week Reflective Exploration from 4 October to 10 December. Champions will also participate in a range of events detailed below and will organise and host a celebratory face-to-face event in their own organisation to share their organisation’s work with the wider FE sector.

Funding and eligibility

The EDS Champion grant call is funded by the Department for Education through the ETF. The 6 grants of up to £8,000 per organisation will cover £5,000 for remission time for the EDS Champion to undertake the activities outlined above, and £3,000 for at least 2 colleagues to participate in the 10-week Reflective Exploration. Participating organisations will be expected to release their Champions for preparation and planning activities, ETF events and to organise and host the celebratory event. 

To be eligible to apply, organisations will need to be funded by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

EDS Champion role, responsibilities and support

EDS Champions will be key facilitators who will lead on fostering discussions, as well as sharing ideas, resources and practices. Specific objectives include:

  • Completion of all the EDS modules and the overarching EDS Course Badge on the EnhanceDTP
  • Completion of the Understanding EDS (1 x 90 minute workshop) and EDS for Leaders training programmes (2 x 90 minute workshops)
  • Lead an EDS Reflective Exploration involving at last 2 colleagues
  • Proactively nurture the communities of practice on the EnhanceDTP, leading discussion in a pathway (e.g., ESOL, Prison and Probation Education, Vocational learning, SEND)
  • Support practitioners’ activities within their organisation and externally
  • Organise and host a face-to-face (could be streamed online as well) EDS good practice celebratory event to share their learning and support the sector to build capacity for delivering essential digital skills.

See the guidance document for more details on key deliverables.

EDS Champions will be supported by:

  • An EDS Mentor appointed by Sero Consulting (three mentoring/training sessions and other meetings)
  • Guidance on using the Enhance Community of Practice
  • EDS training from the EDS CPD programme
  • Access to the Enhance Management Dashboard.

EDS Reflective Explorations

The Reflective Explorations will involve practitioners undertaking Enhance EDS online modules and engage them in a pedagogic dialogue through the EDS community of practice (CoP).  The aim is for practitioners to become part of a growing community, driving improvement in online practice across the sector. At least 2 practitioners will work with the EDS Champion in an organisational network on each project.

Participants will work collaboratively to improve their EDS practice, typically by engaging in peer observation and critical reflection. They will draw on their learning from one or more of the Enhance EDS modules to improve a specific aspect of their practice.

They will subsequently develop resources and reflections that will encourage them to critically reflect on the impact of the learning on their practice as well as their learners, and how they have adapted the training to their specific learning context/role.

Participants will be developing and sharing teaching and learning resources on the EDS online CoP, while keeping a reflection journal.

Practitioners involved in the project will be supported by their EDS Champion who will facilitate the Reflective Exploration activity and promote the learning nationally

EDS practitioner roles and responsibilities

EDS Practitioners are the organisational colleagues participating in the EDS Reflective Explorations. It is anticipated that they will:

  • Complete EDS modules and badges that are part of the Reflective Exploration led by the EDS Champion
  • Participate in collaborative practice development applying learning from the modules and in-house support provided by the EDS Champion
  • Participate in observed practice sessions and reflect on the impact of the training on themselves and leaners and how it might be adapted for the local context
  • Maintain a reflective journal throughout the Reflective Exploration
  • Suggest how training can be adapted to meet local needs and feedback to the EDS Champion
  • Contribute to internal and external (Enhance) CoP/network activities
  • Contribute to the development, planning and delivery of the face-to-face event
  • Contribute as requested by the EDS Champion to the development of an organisational case study
  • Develop teaching and learning resources to share with the EDS community through the Enhance Community of Practice.

Timetable of activities

  • Inception meeting (4 October) and start of EDS Champion programme.
  • Start training – attend at least first session.
  • Access the Enhance Management Dashboard to strengthen the EDS support framework within your organisation.
  • Co-design the Community of Practice (CoP) engagement plan with EDS mentors and other EDS Champions.
  • Start a 10-week Reflective Exploration with at least two colleagues:
  • Start to keep a log of progress and use your findings to foster discussions in the CoP
  • Start regular meetings with your mentor and your team.
November & December
  • Meet with your EDS Mentor and other EDS Champions.
  • Continue with your 10-week Reflective Exploration with at least two colleagues:
  • Update your log of progress and use your findings to foster discussions in the CoP
  • Continue regular meetings with your mentor and your team.
  • Contribute to one focused Meet-up – Pathway – in November/December.
  • Deliver 1 practical hands-on 90 mins workshop in November/December.
January & February
  • Contribute to production of a case study about the Reflective Exploration to be published by 28 February.
  • Contribute to 1 focused Meet-up – Pathway (January-March).
  • Deliver 1 practical hands-on 90mins workshop (January – March).
  • Set up in your organisation a face-to-face EDS celebratory event (with RE colleagues) by 11 March.
  • Support promotion of a case study about the Reflective Exploration.
  • Contribute to 1 focused Meet-up – Pathway if not already undertaken Jan-Feb.
  • Deliver 1 practical hands-on 90mins workshop if not already delivered Jan-Feb.
  • Host a face-to-face EDS celebratory event (with RE colleagues) by 11 March.
  • Attend 3 training sessions with your mentor.
  • You will have access to the Enhance Management Dashboard to strengthen the EDS support framework within your organisation.
  • Co-lead 6 x 30 mins synchronous Community of Practice sessions (1 per month) and attend/contribute to at least 6 other synchronous CoPs’ instances.
  • Manage one CoP channel (at least one asynchronous discussion post about your Reflective Exploration project or Pathway and EDS).
  • Proactively engage at least 3 new CoP contributors per month. 

Applications are closed.

Eligible organisations are invited to read the guidance documentation and submit an expression of interest using the link above.

The deadline for submissions was 12 noon Friday 10 September.

If you have any queries, please contact