Helping older people gain digital skills for the 21st century
- ?Digital skills are critical for life in the 21st Century. Everyday activities—such as shopping, using a telephone and banking—increasingly require interaction with technology. Digital skills (the skills needed to interact with digital technologies) are now necessary life skills. It is not acceptable for any group to be excluded from access to digital technologies.
- 6.4 million adults – over 13 per cent of the adult population in the UK – have never used the Internet. The over 65s make up over 75 per cent of this excluded group – a total of 4.78 million people.
- With Government services increasingly being ‘Digital by Default’ it is increasingly imperative that older people and their carers (professional and nonprofessional) are supported to obtain basic digital skills so they can access these critical services – either directly or through proxy users.
100 Day Actions
- Government should urgently establish a new £40m fund for an appropriate programme of Training to support Older People and their carers to rapidly gain the skills they need to access online services, funded by the proposed cut in winter fuel payments for the UK’s richest older people (estimated to be £100m). This would initially deliver through sheltered and residential housing providers and via public libraries and would be targeted to meet those with the greatest need. This commitment would send out an important message of intent at the beginning of the Parliament which would ensure that Government achieves the target set out in the 2014 Digital Inclusion Strategy – that by 2020 everyone who can be digitally capable, will be.
In the next in our series of blogs on the Ten Policies for Ten People, Rachel Marvin explains how its Time to ensure older people gain the digital skills they need