Lockdown saw a 582 per cent increase in registrations for online learning courses, with social media, photography, and baking among the most popular, according to new data.

Figures from Shaw Academy show a huge rise in the number of people enrolling in 2020 compared to the previous year, as Brits looked to fill their time or retrain for a new career.

In 2019, the online platform saw 143,917 people register for courses, but this shot up to 981,260 in 2020 – with women making up 64 per cent of the pupils.

Photography was the most popular course with more than 103,000 people enrolling in 2020 – up from 30,688 the previous year.

As the lockdown took hold, almost 25,000 signed up to cookery and baking courses, compared to just seven people in 2019.

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Map of The top courses across the UK
The top courses across the UK

Interior design also saw a huge increase as Brits looked to make the most of their home and its space after it faced new pressures, going from eight pupils in 2019 to almost 12,000 during the pandemic.

Other courses to feature in the top 50 for the past 12 months included creative writing (16,416), mindfulness (9,944), cryptocurrency (2,511) and even dog care (3,804).

But while 31 per cent of those who enrolled were simply looking for self-improvement, 21 per cent were using the time to improve their professional skills.

Graphic shows the Top 5 course registrations in 2020
Graphic shows the Top 5 course registrations in 2020

Another one in 10 were looking to retrain to enter a new industry while the same number wanted to start their own business.

A spokesperson for  www.shawacademy.com  said: “Lockdown has given many people the gift of time – something we often struggled to have enough of previously.

“There has never been a better time to learn more about a hobby that you’ve never quite been able to really get into or learn a new skill altogether.

Self-improvement - the percentages
Self-improvement – the percentages

“And with many sectors and industries hit hard by the pandemic and the effects of the lockdown, there are many people looking at their current career and wondering if it is still one for them.

“With so many people furloughed or out of work, they have been able to take stock and perhaps learn something else which can open up a new career path for them.”

The data comes after a study of 2,000 adults found 47 per cent have been rethinking their career choice since the start of the lockdown.

Graphic shows interest in courses rose
Graphic shows interest in courses rose

Almost a quarter (24 per cent) want to improve their current skill set for their job role, with one in five (20 per cent) claiming they are always looking for ways to improve professionally.

But 39 per cent think the abilities required for their current career have changed a lot, with 96 per cent of those believing it is important to keep up to date with modern skills.

It also emerged one in five adults took up a new hobby or activity simply to make the best of the extra time they had.

The most popular courses
The most popular courses

Almost one in four (23 per cent) wanted to improve their physical or mental wellbeing while 11 per cent thought it would be a way of communicating more with other people during the isolated period.

Of those polled via OnePoll who started an online course during lockdown, 35 per cent did so to boost their career prospects once the pandemic is over while 23 per cent just wanted to get something out of the unusual period.

And 16 per cent simply learned something new to beat the boredom.

Graphic designer at work. Color swatch samples. Artist drawing something on graphic tablet at the office. Graphic designer creativity editor ideas designer concept
Graphic design can be a rewarding career (stock image)

A spokesperson for Shaw Academy added: “There are various courses on offer, whether you want to change careers, boost your current skill set or simply learn a new hobby.

“Learning something new can be very rewarding and also great for your wellbeing.”

To see what skill or activity you would be best suited to learning take the quiz at the Shaw Academy Careers website.

Top 50 online courses with number of registrations in 2020

1. Photography 103,699
2. Graphic design 96,091
3. Nutrition 76,806
4. Social media 71,970
5. Marketing 67,633
6. Project management 58,131
7. Leadership 52,591
8. Sports nutrition 50,948
9. Beauty 44,310
10. Excel 37,912
11. Health 33,407
12. Web Development 28,972
13. AFT 27,991
14. Business 24,607
15. Cooking & baking 24,420
16. Creative writing 16,416
17. Fashion design 12,146
18. Interior design 11,908
19. Bookkeeping 10,656
20. Mindfulness 9,944
21. Painting 8,341
22. Photoshop 7,965
23. Smartphone 7,206
24. Hand crafts 6,613
25. Data analytics 6,305
26. Alternate therapy 5,935
27. Psychology 5,916
28. Web design 5,617
29. Start a business 5,225
30. Digital video 4,084
31. Crystal 3,921
32. Dog care 3,804
33. Mobile app 3,383
34. Sales promotion 3,176
35. Sound engineering 3,027
36. Jewellery design 2,943
37. Coach 2,758
38. Design 2,733
39. Gold 2,661
40. Cryptocurrency 2,511
41. Guitar 2,337
42. Tech coding 1,995
43. Blogging 1,948
44. Floristry 1,482
45. Game development 1,470
46. Child development 1,308
47. Organisational psychology 1,212
48. Python 1,184
49. Wine 1,113

50. Tarot 940

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