Techmums at The Digital Hub
Sinead Kelly (centre) leads the first Techmums lesson at The Digital Hub, Dublin. Photo by Connor McKenna

Techmums can boost entire families’ digital knowledge – Sue Black

6 Nov 2015

Techmums has gone international with the launch of an Irish programme in The Digital Hub, Dublin. But what is Techmums and why sign up? Founder Sue Black fills us in.

“Techmums is all about helping mums to understand the digital world and to create a better relationship between them and their children,” explained Techmums founder Sue Black as the first session at The Digital Hub, Dublin got underway.

During this five-week programme, participants are asked to commit just two hours per week to learn a range of digital skills, from basic office tech and how to use social media, to app and web design and Python coding.

While the skills acquired through Techmums are useful for those mums who are working or re-entering the workforce, Black explains that tech knowledge is universally applicable.

“It’s all about building mums’ confidence and their digital skills, and creating a better home environment for the kids as well,” she said.

“Everyone now needs to have digital skills and understand the digital world better, and I think mums are really critical because they’re the key influencers in the home. So, if mums understand technology I think the whole family understands technology better.”

Bringing Techmums to Ireland

Black left school at 16 and rejoined education at 27 as a single parent with three children and previously shared her story of how technology and education transformed her life at Silicon Republic’s Future Jobs Forum 2014 as well as at our inaugural Inspirefest in June of this year.

It was at the former event that Black was introduced to An Cosán, an education initiative based in west Dublin, and from this the first Irish partnership began. Techmums has been running at An Cosán since September 2014 and, today, education programme coordinator Sinead Kelly led the Digital Hub Techmums in their first lesson.

Connecting Black with groups interested in furthering digital education in communities is what helped this initiative to grow and, indeed, it was Silicon Republic CEO Ann O’Dea who presented the idea of Techmums to The Digital Hub, and made the introductions.

“I’m so thrilled that this has moved from an idea to a reality. It’s such an important initiative for the women of Dublin 8,” she said. “Serious kudos to The Digital Hub for making it happen, and best of luck to Techmums and to all the participants over coming weeks.”

Necessary digital know-how

Recruiting 15 participants for The Digital Hub’s first Techmums was not too difficult for Caroline Viguier, strategic initiatives project manager at the Digital Hub Development Agency, who reached out to schools and communities in the Liberties area.

“The response has been overwhelming and we were very quick to fill all our places for the initial course,” she said.

‘Everyone now needs to have digital skills and understand the digital world better, and I think mums are really critical because they’re the key influencers in the home’

The Digital Hub’s Techmums programme is committed to engaging with the local community and to addressing the digital divide in an area that houses a chunk of Dublin’s tech sector. But it’s not just the tech sector that requires digital skills in 2015.

“Today, 90pc of new jobs require digital know-how, with 67pc of those digital jobs outside the tech industry,” said Viguier.

“The Digital Hub has partnered with Techmums to introduce a programme aimed at helping mothers from the local area to develop the know-how and confidence to make the most of what technology has to offer them and their children.”

Techmums’ Irish pioneers

Dublin’s pioneering Techmums took their first lessons at The Digital Hub learning studio today, Friday, and will continue them weekly up to 11 December.

The programme will provide short, hands-on workshops that introduce mums to online security, social media savviness, essential computing skills, app and web design, and simple Python programming.

This first pilot programme will then be evaluated and, with any luck, continue to grow.

Meanwhile, Black is keen to seen Techmums take off across the country – if not, the world – and welcomes any interested organisations to reach out to her on Twitter.

Updated, Friday 6 November 6.32pm: This article has been updated to clarify that the first Irish Techmums programme began with An Cosán in September 2014.

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Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke was editor of Silicon Republic until 2023, and is now the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. Elaine joined Silicon Republic in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She later served as managing editor before stepping up as editor in 2019. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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