7-step guide launched to help bridge digital skills gap

The Carnegie UK Trust has launched a seven-step guide aimed at local authorities, landlords and other public and voluntary sector organisations, providing an easy-to-use toolkit for them to help get people online.

It comes as the Trust highlights that approximately one fifth of households still don’t have access to basic internet services, with many of the poorest households the most likely to miss out.

Published as part of the Trust’s latest report ‘Making Digital Real: Case Studies of How to Help the Final Fifth Get Online’, developed in partnership with Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the new guide demonstrates that a one-size fits all approach won’t help bridge the digital skills gap and that different ideas and models must be considered.

It encourages leadership, involving people and communities, making any approach personal to the specific audience group and interventions that address the multiple barriers that prevent people from going online, such as access to equipment, connection costs, and the fears that people might have about technology.

Commenting on the guide Graham Walker, CEO Go ON UK, said: “We know from lessons learned that working in partnership on a local level is key to bridging the digital skills gap in the UK. The unprecedented results of the 2011 Go ON Liverpool campaign which saw a 55% reduction in offline adults in the city in an 18-month period has formed a blueprint for the Go ON UK regional pathfinder which started in the North East at the end of last year.”

The Carnegie UK Trust’s report reinforces the message that everyone has their role to play if we are to achieve our ambitious goal of making the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation.

The report showcases six different successful approaches that have been taken to encourage people online in Liverpool, Glasgow, Leeds, Sunderland, Wiltshire and Fife. These include:

  • Training volunteer  Digital Champions to help share skills and knowledge
  • Making affordable broadband available in socially rented homes
  • The use of a bus, kitted out with the latest technology to take digital to communities and demonstrate how it can be used

Sue Jennings, the Development Manager and digital inclusion lead for Leeds Federated Community, one of the case studies outlined in the report, said: “With so many vital services moving online, having the means and ability to effectively use the internet is of vital importance for both our economic and social wellbeing. The HUGO project aims to reach those most at risk of digital exclusion in Leeds to ensure that people have the knowledge, skills and confidence to make the most of the opportunities provided by the internet.”

The Making Digital Real report comes following research carried out by the Trust last year around digital take-up in Glasgow, the city with one of the lowest levels of internet access in the UK. It found that two of the key causes were because citizens had concerns about technology and that different methods of engagement were required to get people interested in learning about being online.

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