Speaking on Monday morning at the launch of Age Action Ireland’s new computer training facility in Lower Abbey Street Minister Rabbitte said “I have decided to increase the resources originally earmarked for this scheme. I believe in investing in what works. Research by my Department has shown that the investment we have made in similar schemes – working with the community & voluntary sector to deliver the training – delivers effectively on our objectives.
“This scheme will enable thousands of people throughout Ireland – people otherwise likely to be left behind in the knowledge society – to acquire the basic practical know-how to improve their digital skills. In particular this will help older people, those with disabilities, the unemployed and other key target groups. They will learn to use the internet, email and how to conduct simple on-line transactions.
“Previous schemes show that learning such basic skills helps people in many ways – giving them new communication options, new opportunities to save money, as well as better access to a wide range of on-line services. We have also seen how such new skills and the opportunities that result from them improve people’s confidence and wellbeing. More widespread participation in the knowledge society is a win-win outcome – with advantages for citizens, government and the wider economy.”
There are a range of initiatives operating in Ireland which are helping to achieve more widespread digital inclusion. Amongst these are basic skills measures such as Age Action Ireland’s Getting Started programme, the Log on Learninitiative, BT’s Connected communities initiative, Irish Internet Association’s (IIA) Digitise the Nation as well as other initiatives currently being developed. Some approaches focus on particular sectors (e.g. the work being done by ENCLUDE to transform the operations of charity organisations). Digital inclusion is also relevant to small businesses. A number of initiatives are currently focusing on developing the potential of SMEs to improve their on-line capabilities. These include the Getting Irish Business On-line initiative from Google as well as a pilot initiative – WebActivate.
Details of the scheme are available at www.eInclusion.ie