Citizens Online has been working in partnership with Gwynedd Council since 2011. Digital Gwynedd is an innovative partnership begun in 2015 focused on helping local people improve their internet skills and enjoy the social and economic benefits of being online. At the core of Digital Gwynedd is the drive to galvanize a strong, sustainable local partnership — now involving 35 organisations — that will continue after the current funding period. The project is part of our wider work with national digital inclusion partnership, ‘One Digital’ — an initiative involving five organisations, funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, which enables us to share knowledge and best practice, and work collaboratively. As part of the programme we are delivering our Switch approach to tackle digital exclusion in a resilient way by building an army of ‘embedded’ Digital Champions, ensuring lasting impact across a number of areas.
The Digital Gwynedd project, which helps the county’s residents to make the most of the latest technology has offered practical support to a Blaenau Ffestiniog man as he secured a new job.
Carwyn Jones recently attended one of the Digital Drop In Sessions in the Porthmadog area looking for support. Carwyn had been in full time employment in a shop in Porthmadog for over two years, but had become unemployed when the business unexpectedly closed down. Carwyn found that looking for work and claiming benefits had changed a lot, especially with more things being done online nowadays.
During the drop-in sessions Carwyn was helped by Rachel Martin, a Digital Champion with the Digital Gwynedd scheme, to set-up a new email address, organise his online job searches and completing benefit applications. After attending the sessions for three weeks he secured a new job in a local shop.
“I had a smartphone and I used social media, but I had never used it for completing forms, looking for jobs and registering on websites. The help and guidance I have received as part of the Digital Gwynedd project has been of great help, and I now feel more confident in terms of doing more things online.”
The Digital Gwynedd project aims to help the county’s residents to make the most of the opportunities that the latest technology and the internet has to offer. The project, which brings together numerous partners led by Gwynedd Council with the support of the charity Citizens Online, aims to encourage better computer skills among all sections of society.
Councillor Ioan Thomas, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development, said: “One of our key aims is to encourage digital inclusion for more residents to play a full part in the jobs market. There is a clear link between employment and digital skills, and improving those skills is integral to increasing employment across the county.
“Digital Gwynedd has a crucial role to play in this. We are determined to equip everybody to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the latest digital developments. For those who are out of work, the internet is an invaluable job hunting tool, and computer literacy is becoming more and more important in many jobs.
“Whatever your opinion of universal credit, it is anticipated that the changes that will come with it will affect many people in Gwynedd when it is introduced over the coming years, and access to computers or tablet devices and digital skills will be essential to submit applications for universal credit.”
Full details about the Digital Gwynedd drop in sessions and all public buildings with internet access is available on the website.
You can also contact Kelvin Roberts from Gwynedd Council on 01286 674698 for employment support.