Digital Skills

“Within two decades, 90% of jobs will require some digital proficiency, yet 23% of adults lack basic digital skills.”


When you start at college there are a lot of new systems to learn, get to know them by checking out the guides below. Email and Microsoft proficiency are also essential for many careers.


Google Chrome is Google's web browser (this means the program you use to access websites). You will see the Chrome icon on the desktop of any college PC, and it is easy to install on your home computer too, whether it is a PC or Mac.

You should always sign-in to Chrome using your Varndean email address and password. If it asks you whether you want "sync" turned on, the answer is always yes. And you always want to "link data" too, this means all your data is the same wherever you sign-in, which makes things much easier.

Bookmarking in Chrome


Gmail is Google's email service, and it's what we use here at the college. You can log into it at using your college email address and password. You can log into it from home, and you can add your college email address to almost any email app on your phone. Just remember when adding your account that it is a Google account.

Some tips for using Gmail for the first time:

  1. To send a new email, you want to click the Compose button on the top right (it's shaped like a big pill with a multicoloured plus icon in it).

  2. When you're finished with an email, you want to Archive it, not delete it. It's just like deleting, except you can get it back if you need it.

Send email

Respond to email


Most of your classes will use Google Classroom to host resources, set assignments, and if you have online lessons, this is how you will access them. Click the button to the guide to learn how to join your classes and how to submit an assignment.


If you have online lessons or meetings, you will attend them using Google Meet. Click the button to the guide to learn how to join Meet, mute and unmute your microphone, and blur your background.

Accessibility Tools

There are a wide range of accessibility tools available on all college computers and Chromebooks, speak to Additional Support (in room 14.2, opposite the Library staircase) to find out more.

Have you considered changing your privacy settings?

You should decide how much strangers are allowed to know about you, not a billion-dollar company. To learn more about your privacy settings, how to find them and change them, click on the relevant buttons below.

Now check your phone

A lot of apps have access your contacts, photos, location, and more, if you're not comfortable with this you can deny access in your phone settings. Search for "app permissions".

Getting into Orbit

Most courses at Varndean will require you to have at least basic office and administrative skills. Being proficient in both G Suite and Microsoft will give you a wide range of skills that can be applied to many jobs, and should be listed on your CV.

3 Cool Google Workspace tips

Google Docs: Adding and Replying to Comments

Google Sheets: Working with Multiple Sheets

Google Slides: Adding Free Templates

Online Behaviour

Remember, if it's not ok offline, it's not ok online. For more advice check out Google's Be Internet Legends website, and read Varndean's IT Acceptable Use Policy.

Have you thought about using a Password Manager?

Strong, unique passwords are essential to protect your data, but remembering fifty random passwords can be a headache. Consider using a password manager such as LastPass, Sticky Password, and Dashlane, which all offer free versions.

Not convinced?

Are you happy to continue using the same password for everything? Why not enter your email address here to see if any of your data has been breached?

Among the Stars

To do your best at college you must be organised, and that includes organising your time and your digital property. This is a skill that is valuable to a large number of employers, and your knowledge of the below systems should also be emphasised on your CV.

Microsoft Office



Digital Literacy and Research Skills

The Library run sessions on developing your digital research skills, speak to a member of Library staff about attending a session or for advice and resources.

Do you have Antivirus installed?

There are great free Antivirus solutions, try Avast or AVG on your home computer. Consider using an adblocker too, as this is a great way to avoid malicious download links that disguise themselves as ads.

Have you deleted your unused accounts?

Just because you've forgotten about an account you created doesn't mean the internet has. You may be surprised to learn how much information about you is publicly accessible. Whether it's Facebook or Paypal, if you no longer use an account, consider closing it permanently.

New Worlds

If you've made it this far then maybe you're ready for something new. Why not explore some of the topics below, some of which you may already know, some of which you may never have heard of. Every new digital skill is a valuable part of your arsenal when applying for jobs.

Google Workspace



Microsoft Office




Popular with Employers



Microsoft Teams

Industry Standard

Depending on your course at Varndean, you will have expertise on industry standard software such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Logic, Unity, and MatLab. This should be emphasised when applying for appropriate jobs.

To find guides for Adobe products, go here.