L&Q has launched a year-long digital inclusion programme for 150 of its residents. L&Q’s ‘Digital 400’ (D400) programme is being funded by a £53,000 grant from the L&Q Foundation and will be delivered with training provider Silver Training.
D400 will initially offer 150 residents without computer skills bespoke IT training as well as free equipment and a year’s internet access to help improve their access to online services, money saving sites and employment-enhancing computer skills.
An internal survey in 2013 showed that digital exclusion was an important issue for L&Q tenants, with almost 40 per cent of the 2,200 respondents having no access to the internet and 46 per cent of these being in receipt of some form of benefits, which must often be renewed and can easily be done online.
Mark Rowe, financial inclusion project officer, L&Q, said, “Our digital inclusion project was set up to help residents use online services in the wake of the government’s ‘digital by default’ strategy, which will see most government transaction services, including applying for universal credit, move online during 2015.”
A graduate of last year’s D300 course at L&Q said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the course and would definitely say to people who have not worked with computers not to be scared. Whatever your age take the leap and join a computer course. It opens so many doors!”
The D400 course will be held in local community buildings or L&Q offices, with two-and-a-half-hour sessions once a week for a month. The course will cover basic computer skills, online shopping, online benefit claims and job searches and applications. There is also the option to gain a City & Guilds entry level 3 IT skills accreditation. Travel expenses, a potential barrier to learning, will be covered with a £5 daily allowance.
Once they have completed the course, tenants will be given help to set up an internet connection at home, a USB dongle providing 12 months of free internet access and a recycled PC with Windows 7 and Microsoft Office.