Every day’s a school day – over half the population has used the internet to learn new skills


The University of Life has never been more prevalent as over half of Brits (53 per cent) have used the internet to learn on average three new skills.

The University of Life has never been more prevalent as over half of Brits (53 per cent) have used the internet to learn on average three new skills.YouTube is the most favoured source with almost three quarters (73 per cent) claiming the online video channel is the biggest teacher.

The research, conducted by BT, has uncovered that self-starting Britons are proactively seeking out new skills rather than asking their parents (92 per cent), reading a manual (88 per cent) or even enrolling on an evening or weekend course (87 per cent) with 43% proactively using the internet.

Of the skills learnt via YouTube, 65 per cent of respondents said that they had reached an adequate level.While 55 per cent said that they wouldn’t have learnt these skills had it have not been for the internet, a vast proportion (81 per cent) have gone on to use their new skill – a huge 97 per cent of those successfully.Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of these that have successfully up-skilled would, or have already, recommended others to use the internet as a place to learn a new skill.

Top 10 most popular skills to learn online:

  1. Cooking – 38 per cent
  2. DIY – 33 per cent
  3. Exercise – 25 per cent
  4. Learning a new language – 23 per cent
  5. Gardening –19 per cent
  6. Apply make-up – 16 per cent
  7. Car Maintenance – 12 per cent
  8. Photography – 12 per cent
  9. A musical instrument – 11 per cent
  10. Knitting – 10 per cent

Other skills learnt include: styling hair (16 per cent), slow cooking meat (15 per cent), decorating a cake (13 per cent), how to boil an egg (8 per cent), how to do up a tie (6 per cent) and how to carve a pumpkin (7 per cent). Britons think the most useful skills they have learnt via the internet are: foreign languages, DIY, car maintenance and computer skills. However, some have used the internet for information on learning how to get dressed, how to tie a shoe lace, and how to fly a plane.

Kimberly Wyatt, dancer, TV personality and campaign spokesperson says: “I regularly use the internet as a source of knowledge and have learnt how to do various things such as perfecting the great British roast and checking out new yoga moves - which I can practise at home.It’s really refreshing to know that so many people have been teaching themselves new skills via the internet. From really practical things like cooking, DIY and learning a language to keep fit and dance, the internet is an invaluable source of information that 20 years ago we didn’t have. Everyone has the ability and opportunity to learn a new skill and I would like to encourage everyone to search and learn today. Don’t put it off - it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.”

David McDonald, BT director of broadband and bundles, says: “The internet plays such a big part in everyday lives and this research really celebrates the positive effect that it has. We have instant access at our fingertips at home or on the go that we can literally learn any skill, anytime, anywhere.”


For more information on Secret Skills contact btconsumer@fhflondon.co.uk

Notes to editors

Survey of 2,000 adults by Onepoll on behalf of BT in April 2016.