By Deirdre Tynan • 08 June 2021 • 7:57
Programme aims to benefit young people. and families.
Around 23,000 people will be given new online skills and training to help improve their chances of securing a job or to reduce isolation, including access to free internet for two years and support.
The £26 million Connecting Scotland programme, which helps those on lower incomes and groups like the elderly, will offer online training skills as well as providing people with devices like iPads and Chromebooks, and unlimited data for two years.
Finance and Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said, “We are committed to seizing Scotland’s economic potential, creating secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs and supporting businesses recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. With technology playing an increasingly important role in our society, ensuring people can get online and have the right skills and training is even more important to Scotland’s recovery from the pandemic.
“The Scottish Government committed to helping more people get online within our first 100 days plan and that is why we are providing an additional £26 million to help a further 23,000 households experiencing difficulties with online access. This investment will help thousands of people get online, making sure they are not further disadvantaged by providing the necessary hardware, data, and skills they need to get connected and get the skills they need to enter the workforce,” she said.
This builds upon previous funding aimed at helping more people access the internet, include those who were at high risk from COVID-19, care home residents, disadvantaged families with children and young people leaving care. This latest funding also provides an existing group of 36,000 recipients with another year of unlimited data.
One recipient of the Connecting Scotland Programme was Cath MacInnes from Inverness, a single mother of four children under 12, who received a Chromebook during an earlier round of funding.
Ms MacInnes said, “It has been a huge benefit to our online schooling and lockdown. The device enabled my children to independently work on their google classrooms, which in turn increased their confidence and helped improve their school work.
“There was also a positive effect on their wellbeing in general by being able to connect digitally with friends and family during lockdown,” she added.
Since launching in May 2020, the programme has delivered to over 36,000 households including: Families with children: 17,289; Isolating and high vulnerability group: 8,061; Young care leavers: 4,120 , Older and disabled people: 4,899; Other vulnerabilities: 1,695
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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