VONNE is hosting workshops for the VCSE sector to:
- Build our understanding of digital literacy training available across the region and identify key gaps in provision.
- Identify opportunities for providers of digital inclusion projects to start to build collaborations and identify potential lead providers for future funding opportunities.
- Improve co-ordination and delivery of basic digital skills provision across the region.
Digital exclusion is where people lack digital skills, connectivity and accessibility, and has been recognised as a problem for several years. The issue has been exacerbated by Covid-19, where access to internet and digital literacy have been essential in enabling people to access services, attend medical appointments and maintain social contact with friends and family.
The potential scale and impact of digital exclusion in the North East LEP area was highlighted in two recent reports Digital Inclusion in the North East and Addressing digital exclusion in north east England | IPPR. With increasingly significant parts of life taking place online, and the pace of digital adoption set to continue, a strategic regional approach to tackling digital exclusion is required to reverse the increasing digital divide.
This strategy will tightly focus on provision for basic digital skills. It will encompass projects and programmes that build digital skills into wider programmes of support, including combatting loneliness, employability support and access to education and work programmes.
The North East LEP and VONNE are holding consultation workshops with stakeholders and collaborators from the further education sector, voluntary and community organisations and those providing all types of direct and indirect digital inclusion projects to gather insights to inform the strategy and validate our approach. To create the best possible response to the problem, the strategy will need to be:
- Collaborative: our response will be strongest if it’s shaped by a range of voices in the region.
- Insightful: we will need to gather qualitative insights and build a comprehensive dataset of existing provision in order to make our strategy targeted.
- Useful: we would like your input into how we can best shape the outputs of this exercise to be useful to a range of stakeholders in the region.
This series of workshops will launch the project with focused discussion and information gathering, and we want as many stakeholders to contribute to this process as possible.
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