Minister Rabbitte to provide Eur1.6 Million for basic internet training

Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte T.D., today announced he is making €1,600,000 available in 2011 under the BenefIT 3 Grant scheme. The scheme will help provide basic internet related skills training to 30,000 people across the country who are least likely to engage with and use the internet of their own accord.

Speaking on Monday morning at the launch of Age Action Ireland’s new computer training facility in Lower Abbey Street Minister Rabbitte said “I have decided to increase the resources originally earmarked for this scheme. I believe in investing in what works. Research by my Department has shown that the investment we have made in similar schemes – working with the community & voluntary sector to deliver the training – delivers effectively on our objectives.

“This scheme will enable thousands of people throughout Ireland – people otherwise likely to be left behind in the knowledge society – to acquire the basic practical know-how to improve their digital skills. In particular this will help older people, those with disabilities, the unemployed and other key target groups. They will learn to use the internet, email and how to conduct simple on-line transactions.

“Previous schemes show that learning such basic skills helps people in many ways – giving them new communication options, new opportunities to save money, as well as better access to a wide range of on-line services. We have also seen how such new skills and the opportunities that result from them improve people’s confidence and wellbeing. More widespread participation in the knowledge society is a win-win outcome – with advantages for citizens, government and the wider economy.”

Details of the scheme are available at www.einclusion.ie

This scheme builds on the previous BenefIT schemes under which approximately 40,000 people have received training. The scheme is designed for the unemployed, older people, and those with disabilities as well as other categories. Under the BenefIT schemes community, voluntary and not-for-profit organisations or service providers can apply for grant assistance to provide the basic training outlined in the Guidelines for the scheme. The Guidelines set out the detailed requirements and how to apply as well as how applications will be evaluated. Applicants will need to be able to provide training to at least 1,000 people at a range of locations. Training will be available nationally. Training offered under the BenefIT 3 Grant scheme is designed to help people learn the basic skills to do practical things, like using e-Mail, using the Internet to find the information, products and services that they need. As well as the basic Internet training, trainees will also be offered a choice of training options such as on-line transactions etc. It is envisaged that more than 30,000 people should benefit directly by receiving training under this scheme. The deadline for applications is Tuesday 2nd August 2011. The first BenefIT scheme was very successful delivering on the training objectives in a cost effective way as well as increasing the demand and growing the market for hardware, software and other related goods and services. Further details of the outcome of the first BenefIT scheme are available at www.einclusion.ie

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