Over 11.3 million adults lack at least one digital skills and a social change charity is helping tackle this issue.
The Good Things Foundation has provided over 1 million people with the digital skills they need for life and work through its Future Digital Inclusion programme which has been funded by the Department for Education.
Future Digital Inclusion supports people to learn a range of basic digital skills, from using a mouse, keyboard or touchscreen for the first time, to using internet banking, accessing digital health resources and applying for work online. The programme brings together face-to-face support in communities, provided by Online Centres, with a range of resources that enable people to learn digital skills
The people whose lives have been changed by Future Digital Inclusion include Carolyn Hill, who was supported through her local Online Centre, Kensington Community Learning Centre in Liverpool.
When Carolyn, 42, was suddenly made redundant, she needed to use a computer to look for a new job online. She says:
I was useless. I didn’t know how to turn a computer on, never mind do anything on them. I had to ask my children to help me get set up to do job searches. I’d find myself just waiting for them to come home from school so I could start searching.”
But the people working at the centre, in such a short space of time, taught me to use the computer. It was scary but I picked it up pretty easily in the end. Without them, I would have really struggled to get to where I am now.
I was devastated when I lost my job but now I’ve got a new job I love. I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and I got there in the end – and it’s the best place to go.
Helen Milner OBE, Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, said:
If you’re not using the internet in 2019, you’re at a huge disadvantage. Technology continues to change how we live and work, and those excluded from the digital world are being left behind. They’re also overwhelmingly those more likely to be socially excluded in a range of ways.
It’s vital we help them gain the confidence and skills they need, and evidence and experience show that community-based support is the most effective approach. The Government’s investment in Future Digital Inclusion is incredibly important, providing thousands of community organisations with the resources they need to build digital skills into the support they offer to those most in need.
We are hugely proud to have reached this milestone because every one of the million people the programme has helped has a story like Carolyn’s. But with 11.3 million people still lacking at least one digital skill, there is still more to do to end digital exclusion in the UK, and we will continue to work hard with Government and other partners to close the digital divide once and for all.”
Imaged credit: After getting online, Carolyn Hill now has a job she loves.