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PRESS RELEASE: Free tech and digital skills training for individuals with a learning disability across North Wales

Individuals in North Wales living with a learning disability are being encouraged to take up the offer of free devices and digital skills training to help them make the most of being online.

The initiative, launched this summer by Welsh Government funded Digital Communities Wales, has seen the free devices distributed across North Wales through local partners, Hft and North Wales Together.

Dewi Smith, Programme Manager at Digital Communities Wales, said:

“Individuals with a learning disability are more likely to be digitally excluded – we’re finding that people with a learning disability may need help in identifying the appropriate assistive technologies to help them get online. We are delighted to partner with Hft and North Wales Together to provide the necessary tech and upskill individuals in this group so that they can reach their digital potential.”

The scheme also looks to address the digital skills gap, by not only giving out free devices, but by providing supported access to Digital Communities Wales’s training resources. The Welsh Government funded programme, delivered by the Wales Co-operative Centre, provides training around the ‘essential digital skills framework’, designing and delivering comprehensive training programmes on communicating, handling information and content, transacting (with money), problem solving, and being safe and legal online.

In nearby St Asaph, one local resident set on improving her digital skillset with help from the scheme is Erin O’Donnell. Erin lives with autism and is currently on a work placement with Clwyd Alyn housing association as their Community Assistant. As part of the scheme, she has been gifted a new Chromebook and is completing skills training with Digital Communities Wales. She said:

“My Chromebook has helped me with my Community Assistant placement – for example allowing me to complete work I have been given by my mentors and by helping me learn digital skills. Whilst I’m on my placement, I will be completing some more online training that Digital Communities Wales has given me access to, so I can learn lots of new skills that will help me in future jobs.”

Paul Mazurek, Planning and Development Officer at North Wales Together, said:

“We’ve got a great opportunity here for individuals with a learning disability in North Wales to receive devices to help improve their lives. There will also be some useful training on how to use the devices, and how to keep safe when online and using the internet. The scheme has had a good response and take up so far, but we still have some of the free devices available and would like organisations and parents/carers who support people with learning disabilities to get in touch.”

If you know someone that could benefit from the scheme, please contact the North Wales Together team based at Flintshire County Council. Email learning.disability.transformation@flintshire.gov.uk or telephone 01352701303.