Advancing digital skills for all ages in South Dublin
Community access to digital skills education in Dublin makes a marked difference through the Let’s Get Digital program offered by the South Dublin County Partnership (SDCP).
The SDCP focuses on advancing social inclusion and addressing issues of unemployment and disadvantage in South Dublin County through partnerships within the community. The organization is committed to facilitating tailored educational and social resources like the Let’s Get Digital program. Let’s Get Digital provides digital skills and courses to the community to address the digital divide and tackle unemployment and social exclusion through a variety of educational experiences. Let’s Get Digital was funded through partnerships with Microsoft and the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Program (SICAP).
Participants in Let’s Get Digital receive a structured, supportive learning experience that includes mentorship, outreach projects, and digital skill programs such as StepIn2Tech, Tech Tasters, and Hi Digital which provide a variety of tech skills through coding, digital literacy, and more. The program is designed for participants of all ages who are interested in furthering their education, growing their digital confidence, and increasing their employment opportunities.
Community members come to the program through outreach campaigns, the drop-in center in Rowagh, and program coordination with local companies and charities. The drop-in center—established in April 2022—provides a flexible facility that offers weekly in-person Tech Tasters classes and services that give participants a chance to try out the Let’s Get Digital programs and ask questions on their own time. Along with the drop-in center, the community outreach programs and the StepIn2Tech app provide a variety of engagement options that help reach individuals who would not typically be able to participate. That creates equal opportunities for all to learn and upskill.
The StepIn2Tech program, developed by Microsoft Ireland in partnership with FIT, was designed as an online, role-based training in response to the displacement of thousands of workers due to COVID-19 and seeks to bridge digital skill gaps for workers who have recently left school or are mid-career. StepIn2Tech is a flexible program that allows participants to access course content and make progress through an online app. In addition to the StepIn2Tech program, participants are given the option to attend a six-week mentoring program facilitated by the Microsoft Ireland staff.
Gaining online confidence and expanding the program for broader benefits
For those with little experience being online, this education offers essential tools for navigating the internet and developing digital literacy. John Pierson completed StepIn2Tech, FIT, and Tech Taster courses after learning about the programs through Communiversity and SDCP’s Clondalkin Access Network. Upon completing the courses, he was motivated to continue his education and enrolled in a computer science program in TU Dublin.
Let’s Get Digital looks to the future with plans for expanded outreach and engagement, and tailoring programs to span a greater range of ages. Though the program was initially created to target those 18 to late 20s, they are seeing that younger generations are in need for specialized training and older populations are significantly benefiting from digital skills classes. The SDCP looks forward to continuing to actively encourage, facilitate, and support the delivery of tailored educational and social resources to local communities.
Interested in joining these programs? Complete the form here to get started.