The digital world offers a wealth of opportunity. We want to make sure no one is left behind because they don’t know how to access it.
As many as 11.9 million UK adults lack the essential digital skills needed for day-to-day life. Those who need most help getting connected – including older and more vulnerable people and those without internet access – are often isolated and don’t know where to start. Our research with the Oxford University Internet Institute found that non-internet users are 35% lonelier than those who are online and that 49% of retired people, who are especially prone to loneliness, are still offline.
We’re sponsoring face-to-face training sessions in local community Online Centres, coordinated by our partner, Good Things Foundation. We’ve launched training at 20 Online Centres this year and another 50 centres are in the pipeline. Each is partnered with our nearest store, contact centre or office which will provide volunteers, host events or offer other support. Openreach will be sponsoring training for an additional 2,500 people.
Trainers, many of whom are volunteers, deliver workshops with one-to-one support to help learners get to grips with basic tech skills. People who’ve never used a computer or sent an email can learn how. And learners are then able to use the online training content available on our Skills for Tomorrow portal to build on their new skills either at the centre or at home.
Additionally, our portal offers free, easy-to-understand advice and resources to help everyone make the most of the opportunities of the digital world. Created by our partner, Good Things Foundation, these ‘Learn My Way’ resources cover a wide range of topics – from staying in touch with family to online banking and shopping, and accessing services like the NHS online.
Over the next year, we plan to integrate information from Skills for Tomorrow into the advice that our contact centre colleagues provide to customers.
Our customer service teams and our 900 new Home Tech Experts, who visit homes to help set up devices, are trained to support people with additional needs. For customers with disabilities, we offer accessibility advice and products through our Including You website, which is visited around 1.2 million times a month. We also sponsor the annual Tech4Good Awards to promote accessible product development.