Free Skills Academy For Individuals And Businesses Launches In Bristol


  • New Lloyds Bank Academy will give Bristol residents and businesses free online and face-to-face training to boost digital skills and confidence

  • One in five (18%)residents in the South West are missing out on the benefits of being online due to a lack of basic digital skills

  • Only 52% of small businesses in the South West have all five Basic Digital Skills

  • New training for small businesses will enable them to stay safe online, boost their productivity and grow their reach

A pioneering new digital skills academy to help individuals and businesses boost their digital know-how has been launched in Bristol.

The Lloyds Bank Academy, which starts face to face sessions on 9 September, and is free to attend, will equip residents from across the South West region with vital digital skills from using email effectively, to staying safe and applying for jobs online. Local small businesses can also attend courses covering a range of topics including protecting your business from fraud, understanding customers better through data analytics and reaching more customers with digital marketing.

Lloyds Bank has launched the Academy in Bristol after research from its latest Consumer Digital Index (CDI) showed that more than a quarter of residents in the South West (28%) lack confidence in their digital ability while 8% are offline completely.

In practice, this means residents are missing out on benefits including better job opportunities as well as richer communication with friends and family. The CDI research also found that workers with digital skills earn on average £12,500 more per year.

It’s not just individuals that can benefit from new skills. The latest Lloyds Bank Business Digital Index shows that only 30% of small businesses feel equipped to protect their customers from online fraud and scams, and 72% of small businesses don’t have robust security infrastructure online.

To help address these Lloyds Bank Academy has created dedicated security and fraud training. This is alongside a suite of other courses, including improved analytics, to better understand customers that are using a small business website.

Supported by partners including Google, the Welsh Government and Serco, the Academy will enable participants to benefit from online training, local events and face-to-face sessions at locations across the Bristol city region including Lloyds Bank branches, its local head office on Canons Way, St Mungo’s and at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

Stephen Noakes, Ambassador for the South West at Lloyds Banking Group, said:

“Local organisations are investing millions in making Bristol a leading UK city in digital expertise, but our research clearly indicates that the region’s digital skills gap is still an issue.

“Our new Academy in Bristol is an excellent opportunity for people who would like to build greater confidence in their digital ability to learn the skills they need to prosper in both their home and working lives.”

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said:

“Digital and tech is an important part of the West of England’s economy – businesses have a particular need for skilled employees now and this demand is expected to grow in the future.

“One of my key ambitions is improving job opportunities across the region. I want to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or personal circumstances, can access support to develop workplace skills so that they can fulfil their potential. The Lloyds Bank Academy is a great initiative which will complement the work which the West of England Combined Authority is already doing to help improve access to digital skills for people and businesses across our region – such as through our WIDJET project and the Growth Hub.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about the Academy or sign up to free training sessions should visit