IT training scheme to tackle digital divide

MORE than 800 people across Limerick are set to receive free IT training thanks to a €1.8m government scheme.

MORE than 800 people across Limerick are set to receive free IT training thanks to a €1.8m government scheme.

Limerick Community Connect - which exists to bring communities together - is one of only 20 non-profit groups in Ireland selected by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte to get funding to tackle the ‘digital divide’.

Under the scheme, senior citizens, those with disabilities and the unemployed will be prioritised for computer courses in November

The scheme - codenamed BenefIT 3 - will run in community centres and libraries across the city.

As part of this, each participant will receive six hours of training.

Of this, four hours will focus on the internet, email and paying for goods and services online.

The other two hours will be dedicated to digital photography and video, the use of the Skype - which is a program which allows you to make cheap or free phone calls both domestically and internationally.

Also covered are e-Government online services - or any other topic the trainees may be interested in looking at.

Carrying out the training will be volunteers and students from the Limerick Institute of Technology and the University of Limerick.

Chairman of Limerick Community Connect William Priestley said: “This training will provide an opportunity for the many people living in Limerick City who struggle to keep up with modern technology and will give them access to a new world of opportunity, stretching from Internet banking to Skyping (contacting) loved ones around the world.”

Limerick Community Centre was formed in 2001 to tackle ‘the digital divide’ in Limerick City.

At this time, there were fears that the elderly and those from disadvantaged areas were missing out the numerous benefits modern technology can bring.

The group includes community and voluntary networks across the city.

These include Limerick Regeneration, the City of Limerick VEC, the University of Limerick, Limerick Institute of Technology, Shannon Development, Limerick City Council and the PAUL Partnership. More information at Limerick Communities.

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