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People given new online skills and training.
More people have been able to develop digital skills online to help improve their chances of securing a job or reducing isolation, thanks to the £48 million Connecting Scotland programme.
Members of more than 60,000 households have been given training to help access the internet. Among other benefits, this enabled use of online services during the pandemic and the making of job applications. Users also received devices like iPads and Chromebooks and unlimited data for two years.
Those on lower incomes and groups like older people, single parents and disabled people have been able to access training and support to use their devices. People who were at higher risk and shielding from Coronavirus (COVID-19) were able to access online health and public services and maintain virtual contact with family and friends.
Economy Secretary Kate Forbes said:
“The aim of our £48 million Connecting Scotland Programme was to ensure people who faced the most barriers to accessing online services were supported and not left behind as a result of the pandemic.
“This programme has provided a vital lifeline for many people by helping families maintain virtual contact and allowing users to access public, health and employment services that were only available online as a result of Covid.
“As well as helping more than 60,000 more households access services online, this has been an investment in the future of our digital economy and will help wider efforts to close the digital divide by ensuring as many people as possible have the skills required to enter the workforce.”
Further information on Connecting Scotland is available.
Connecting Scotland was a 2021-22 Programme for Government (PfG) commitment and is delivered in partnership with the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and local authorities.
It has funded 1,047 organisations which have delivered 4,917 projects. In total, 30,462 Chromebooks, 29,697 iPads and 51,021 MiFi devices have been issued to more vulnerable households.
Planning for future development of the service is underway, in line with the PfG commitment to extend Connecting Scotland to bring 300,000 people online by the end of this term of the Scottish Parliament.