Ashford Borough Council are committed to improving the digital skills of our residents. One of the key strands of our Customer Services, IT and Digital Strategy 2022 is to collaborate with partner groups to improve digital skills and inclusion.
We have been working with Digital Kent, the digital inclusion team at Kent County Council to promote the events they have been hosting in the borough of Ashford.
This includes a series of drop-in sessions at Ashford Gateway, Tenterden Town Hall and Stanhope Community Hub. Anyone can attend these sessions to receive one-to-one support in being safe online, setting up new devices and learning basic digital skills.
Visit the Digital Kent website for more information.
Digital champions network
Digital Kent are also developing a network of digital champion volunteers from organisations, businesses and the community to help improve the digital skills within our communities.
Visit the KCC website if you are interested in becoming a digital champion.
Giving everyone the chance to go online
For most people using the five basic digital skills and going online to make purchases, pay bills or to keep in touch with friends and family is almost second nature, however, this is not the case for everyone.
The five basic digital skills are:
- Managing information
What is digital exclusion?
Digital exclusion is the inability to access online products or services or to use simple forms of digital technology.
This disproportionately affects vulnerable people, low-income groups, the elderly and the more marginalised communities in our society. This creates a strong correlation between digital exclusion and social exclusion.
The economic impact of digital exclusion is equally challenging at a time when it is forecast that 90% of all jobs will soon require some form of digital capability and the UK faces a major shortage of digital skills at all levels.
In addition to helping people to get online, we also need to ensure that active online users can actually find the information they want or access the services they want to through our website.
In line with the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, we have made improvements to our various websites to ensure that it is compatible with assistive technologies. This has involved a lot of testing of our website with the help of Ashford Access Group, who provide the council with advice on disabled access. We have an accessibility statement published on www.ashford.gov.uk.