Bridge the digital divide for free

The Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, has announced the introduction of free ICT classes for anyone wishing to improve their computer skills.

The classes are at an entry level and will be free of charge to anyone in Northern Ireland from 1 August 2010.  They will be provided by the Further Education sector and will allow learners over the age of 16 to access a suite of accredited ICT courses.

The Minister said:

The introduction of free Entry Level ICT classes means that anyone can improve their computer literacy. Those who have previously felt isolated by a lack of computer skills will now be given the opportunity to join classes at their local college which will open up a new world of learning.

This is a welcome move forward and one that will help many people get online and start their digital learning journey.  So please, pass the word along.

Adult Learners’ Week 2010 and Silver Surfers’ Day begins

The Adult Learners’ Week 2010 campaign begins tomorrow.  It’s aim is to encourage adults, of any age and background, to give learning a go. EGSA has supported this campaign for many years and we are continuing to do so by compiling a guide to local NI events on our website.

An important part of ALW 2010 is Silver Surfers’ Day (SSD) on the 21st May.  It’s a national day that focuses on helping those over 50 get online.  SSD receives national publicity with just yesterday Terry Wogan speaking on the benefits of surfing the net on BBC breakfast news. Digital Unite coordinates the event and has set-up two websites to support it:

Locally, SSD is supported by Department of Finance and Personnel and Business in the Community – learn more here. It’s primarily driven by volunteers in libraries across Northern Ireland, and consists of fun taster sessions on the internet, e-mail, online banking, shopping and much more.  See EGSA’s SSD page for a list of events.