UK Youth joins pioneering programme to support young people most at risk of digital exclusion

23 July 2017

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Nominet Trust has provided UK Youth with new funding to address the lack of digital skills in young people. The new funding is part of Nominet Trust’s Digital Reach programme – a pioneering initiative developed to support the UK’s efforts to increase digital skills amongst some of the UK’s most disadvantaged young people.

The funding will allow UK Youth to reach young people who are facing personal, circumstantial or systemic barriers, which could lead to digital exclusion, and allow them to access high-quality digital services in their local area to help them engage with a world that is now digital-by-default.

The 2017 Basic Digital Skills report suggests that, despite an overall increase in the number of UK adults who have gained basic digital skills, at least 3% (300,000) of those aged 15-24 are still being left behind. Nominet Trust’s research indicates that it is this group that is the most likely to be facing multiple forms of disadvantage. Digital Reach has been created in response to this national challenge by reimagining digital skills delivery to the hardest-to-reach young people in our society.

By harnessing the expertise of UK Youth and other organisations, which have longstanding and trusted relationships with the most disadvantaged young people, Nominet Trust’s Digital Reach intends to demonstrate how these organisations are perfectly placed to steer isolated young people towards positive futures.

Nominet Trust’s funding will enable UK Youth to create bespoke digital spaces in local youth organisations across the UK. Youth workers and young Champions will be trained to deliver creative digital skill programmes through a range of dynamic, interactive resources. The programme will reach 1,500 digitally excluded young people through a mixture of regular sessions, open-access use and outreach events.

Anna Smee, CEO of UK Youth said: “Many of the young people we work with are at risk of digital exclusion. This reduced exposure to technology can put them at a disadvantage in a world that is increasingly becoming digital by default. By providing access to high-quality digital services in their local community and digital skills training through a trusted youth worker; we hope that our Digital Hubs programme will help young people feel inspired by technology and be supported with advice and training to help them engage with education, volunteering and employment.”

UK Youth’s Digital Hubs is one of six initiatives (involving twelve different organisations) chosen by Nominet Trust after a rigorous selection process to be involved in developing pilots over the next nine months. The other participants are: Action for Children; Carers Trust; Home-Start and #techmums; The Children’s Society and City & Guilds Group; Wales Co-operative Centre; YMCA Swansea; Llamau; and GISDA. In total, the pilots will initially aim to engage with 4,000 of those on the wrong side of the digital divide; the effectiveness of models to scale will also be evaluated, allowing more young people to be reached in the future.

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