First minister says digital skills work must go on

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Nicola Sturgeon was speaking as a new service to tackle digital exclusion was launched, with the beneficiaries of a £220,000 fund also revealed

1st August 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

The first minister has stressed the importance of providing Scots with digital skills.

Nicola Sturgeon was speaking as the latest recipients for the Digital Participation Charter Fund, which supports charities to increase digital inclusion, were named.

Attending the launch of the Google Digital Garage Bus in Glasgow, Sturgeon said that continued support is needed to ensure that Scotland’s population can excel online.

She said: “Digital technology is connecting us faster than before and transforming the way we live which is why it’s crucial that everyone has the opportunity and support to keep up with the pace of change.

“By providing digital training to communities across the central belt, the Google Digital Garage bus will provide people with the skills and confidence they need to reach their potential while helping to grow Scotland’s economy.”

The bus will be touring five days a week until the end of September with the aim of reaching over 50 locations, with Google working alongside organisations such as the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) to build on existing projects to tackle digital exclusion.

And the latest organisations to benefit from the Digital Participation Charter Fund, which is administered by SCVO, were revealed this afternoon with some of the successful applicants meeting the first minister.

Awards of over £220,000 were made to 26 organisations from across the country, supporting groups that either help working age people to increase their financial capability or gain employment; or support older and disabled people to reduce social isolation and loneliness.

Parkhead Citizens Advice Bureau is one of the organisations to benefit from round six of the fund, receiving support for its Digi Aye project. The funding will be used to enhance the CAB’s regular drop-in service, with skilled digital champions supporting people to take the first steps online. Participants will also be signposted to additional help and support locally.

Liz Willis, chief executive of Parkhead CAB, said: “Many of our clients are extremely vulnerable, and have little experience in using the internet. Our advisers provide a local and trusted service, and they are in a perfect position to help people seek advice to become independent and more confident online.”

SCVO’s digital director David McNeill said: “People that aren’t online and lack basic digital skills are more likely to face multiple other forms of social exclusion. It is crucial that we ensure no one is left behind in our increasingly digital world.

“Our research has shown that approaches to overcoming digital exclusion must be embedded in wider strategies to tackle social exclusion.

“The charter fund has enabled community projects to help more than 15,000 people who need support to access technology and the internet, complementing projects such as the Google Digital Garage Bus, as work continues to reduce the digital divide in Scotland.”