The internet and digital technologies are transforming the way people live and work today, yet figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that 1 in 7 people living in Ireland have never used the internet. They cite lack of skills and the belief that they don’t need it as the key barrier to using it.

Addressing the foundations of the digital divide means reaching out to these citizens and helping them participate in a digital society. The Department of Communication Climate Action and Environment’s Digital Skills for Citizens Scheme is providing basic digital skills classes through community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations  to help citizens take their first step online.

Communities are at the heart of everything and classes are taking place in libraries, schools, community centres, etc., across all counties. Training is targeted at people over 45, farming communities, small business owners, unemployed people, persons with disabilities and disadvantaged groups. Classes are tailored to meet the needs of the participants.  Minister Seán Canney visited a Digital Skills training class in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, where he observed members of the farming community learning about the Agri-Food package and the many benefits of embracing technology.

Since the commencement of the Scheme in 2017, over 37,000 citizens have received training including 14,600 citizens over the age of 65 and over 5,200 members of the Farming Community. In addition to providing citizens with the skills to use online Government services, participants have reported that they feel less isolated and confident to use technology to stay in touch with family and friends.

Further details on the Scheme and the National Training Schedule is available at www.dccae.gov.ie/digitalskills

Digital Skills session in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo with Minister of State Sean Canney