Free online resource launches to help navigate COVID-19 isolation for the 1 in 10 digitally excluded in NI
A new campaign was launched today to provide people across Northern Ireland with the tools to upskill their digital abilities and improve online confidence as thousands of people turn to the internet to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis whilst tackling isolation at home.
New independent research commissioned by leading UK charity Good Things Foundation reveals a worrying gap in digital skills and confidence levels across Northern Ireland. More than one in ten people in Northern Ireland (14.2%) have little or only some of the digital skills they need to experience the benefits of being online.
Backed by Google.org, the charitable arm of the global tech company, and driven by Good Things Foundation, the new ‘Make It Click’ campaign aims to help adults understand how digital skills can change their life.
Through a curated collection of free tools and resources available online, Make It Click will help to upskill users with only limited digital skills to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive online.
The campaign is particularly pertinent for people currently self-isolating, with many relying on the internet to keep working from home as well as for everyday necessities such as food shopping, ordering prescriptions and staying in touch with family and friends.
The new research also reveals the stark impacts of living life offline – many respondents felt socially isolated from friends and family and reported lower levels of confidence from being digitally excluded – and compared to people who are not online at all, they are more likely to be seeking work or in low-paid employment. Amidst the current COVID-19 crisis, this is surely only to be exacerbated in the weeks and months ahead.
Many of those surveyed also say their lack of digital aptitude has made them feel disadvantaged when looking and applying for jobs to feeling underdeveloped in their career.
Helen Milner, Good Things Foundation Chief Executive said:
“Even before recent events, it was clear how important technology is to us in our everyday lives, and how vital digital skills are. In the last few weeks, as millions of people self-isolate and observe social distancing, technology has been a lifeline, allowing people to work from home, keep in touch with family and friends and order essentials online.”
“Unfortunately not everyone is able to benefit from technology. More than 7 million people in the UK are not making the most of the internet and not improving their skills, putting them at risk of further isolation at an already difficult time.
“Make It Click aims to help adults who already have some basic digital skills achieve positive life and work outcomes by giving the practical skills and knowledge to build their confidence,
and so I’m delighted we are launching the programme in Northern Ireland this week, at such a vital time.”
To access the free resource, visit www.makeitclick.com.