IMPROVING digital skills to help get West Midlands residents online and improve employment chances is at the heart of a new project.
The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has announced it will help 20,000 people to get online and further embrace technology after securing £4million in Government funding for digital devices.
Targeting those at the highest risk of digital exclusion, the WMCA will work with local authorities and community partners to help residents improve their access to public services, increase their employment chances by learning digital skills and reduce isolation among vulnerable members of society.
The funding comes as part of the WMCA’s trailblazing devolution deal announced by Government in the Spring Budget.
Devices, such as tablets, laptops and mobiles phones, will also help with cost-of-living pressures.
The WMCA say over half of West Midlands residents do not have the necessary digital skills that are becoming increasingly required in the workplace, meaning they are missing out on job opportunities and other money saving advantages primarily found online such as price comparison sites.
West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, said: “Digital connectivity is vital for residents right across the region, with public services, employment opportunities and everyday tasks we take for granted all moving into the online sphere. That’s why we must do all we can to support local people to get the right skills,
“We’ve secured funding for digital devices in our recent Devolution Deal with Government which will help ensure that local people of all backgrounds are given the chance to access technology.
“This is how they can learn the digital basics that will enable them to participate in an increasingly online society.”
This project is also part of the overarching WMCA’s digital roadmap, West Midlands Digital Roadmap and supports the key aim of securing access to more opportunities, particularly for those in poverty.