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Shropshire Digital Inclusion Forum

For all organisations in Shropshire helping people access online services.

Everyone’s online these days, right? Wrong. In fact, one in five adults in the UK still don’t have basic online skills – yet 90% of all jobs would have required ICT skills by last year. Anyone claiming benefits will be required to access the new 'universal credit' online. As approximately 50% of social housing tenants either don’t know how to use a computer or don't have access to one, this is going to have a significant impact in the county.

There are large savings to be made by service providers if their customers access their services online. For example, an online transaction can cost 17p compared to £12 for a transaction over the phone. Purchasing goods and services online can also provide a large cost saving to the consumer. For those experiencing isolation, the social benefits of contacting friends and family via the internet can be huge.

In the last ten years there have been a number of initiatives, both nationally and locally, to help and encourage people to use a computer. The Shropshire Digital Inclusion Forum hopes to bring together all the organisations supporting people who may be digitally excluded.

Aims

Below is an outline of what the forum hopes to achieve. This will evolve over time in response to feedback from participants and changes in the wider landscape.

  • to bring together key partners such as social landlords, statutory organisations and voluntary groups who work with people who are experiencing digital exclusion
  • to map existing provision for IT learning in Shropshire
  • to explore effective ways to signpost learners
  • to identify the people and groups in Shropshire who are digitally excluded, and the most appropriate ways to engage with them
  • to identify gaps in provision or where existing services lack the capacity to deliver suitable learning
  • to share learning resources and training opportunities for staff and volunteers
  • to identify funding opportunities to address gaps and future areas of work

Who can attend?

The forum is open to everyone who delivers formal or informal IT training in Shropshire. We'd also welcome participation from organisations who work with those likely to require support in using a computer.

How often will the forum meet?

Initially we'll meet quarterly. If you're interested but cannot attend the forum, please ensure you're added to the mailing list so you can receive the minutes.

There will be a monthly update to all participants on national and local initiatives which may be of interest. We may set up a sub-group to work on a particular project.

What input are we looking for?

If you or your organisation is involved in supporting IT learners we'd appreciate you either attending the meeting or adding your name to the mailing list. If you work with people who may need help, tell us what sort of provision and approach would work for your clients/customers. If you offer IT learning, please keep us updated with your learning opportunities. Forward information about the forum to other organisations who you think may be interested.

What is the benefit to collaborative working?

By working together we can improve the relationship between those offering IT support and the organisations that work with potential learners. It will also enable IT training providers to develop quality learning opportunities that meet the needs of specific learners. This should create better efficiencies, as learning providers can share good practice and customise existing learning material.

At present there's currently greater demand for IT learning than opportunities available. From our experience, there's not a ‘one size fits all’ solution to digital inclusion. Some learners will be quite specific about the venues they're prepared to go to and the kind of tuition that will suit them. People’s motivation for learning computer skills will also vary; for some people it will be to apply for a job, for others it might be about contacting friends and family. If there's a choice of provision available, more people will access it. Two or more organisations working in the same geographical area could dovetail successfully.

A forum will give all participants the opportunity to share knowledge and possibly apply for appropriate funding in a joined up way in the future.

Find out more about the public IT support services we run across Shropshire.

For more information please email lucy.simpson@shropshire.gov.uk

Last updated: 03 March 2017 Print this page

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