The Government has awarded NUI Galway €230,000 as part of an inter-agency collaboration to upskill 4,600 people in Galway categorised as “digitally excluded.”
The project, entitled ‘Click and Connect’, is part of the BenefIT 3 scheme which has awarded €1.88m for 20 training projects run by community and voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations across Ireland and aims to upskill 40,000 people.
The ‘Click and Connect’ project will offer the people of Galway an introduction to the use of information communications technology (ICT).
The training will offer hands-on practical skills in digital photography and processing, using the internet to communicate with friends and family, online banking and Government services. The partners include Age Action, Limerick Community Connect, DCU and NUI Galway.
“This award stems from service learning activities that have been embedded in the university since 2003,” said Pat Byrne, lecturer with the College of Engineering and Informatics at NUI Galway and lead in the project.
“It is a great achievement for us and recognises the work that NUI Galway has been offering pro bono to the community and those traditionally excluded from ICT. Classes will commence in January 2012 and information will be made available through the Community Knowledge Initiative (CKI) at NUI Galway and local press.”
Enabling the digitally disconnected
The ‘Click and Connect’ project will be key to intergenerational learning and will involve partnerships with the local community. This type of learning is vital to the NUI Galway student experience, and the university, through the CKI, is committed to the development of service and student volunteering.
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, TD, said: “This important scheme means that 40,000 people will gain from IT training between now and June 2012. The programme is to support those who have not yet gone online.
“In particular, older people will benefit – as will an estimated 17,000 unemployed people, as well as other disadvantaged groups. By supporting community and voluntary organisations to deliver this training we can ensure excellent value for money,” Rabbitte said.