The demand for digital technology to keep up with our fast-paced lives assumes that digital isolation only affects the older generation and the vulnerable. However, it has become more prevalent across various socioeconomic groups since the pandemic.
In short digital isolation can affect anyone; this is because it doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual chooses not to or doesn’t know how to use technology. Digital isolation also covers how much access an individual has to the internet and digital media.
The use of digital technology has also changed the way we work. With many work programmes and employability services going digital, providers need to consider ways to combat digital isolation and improve accessibility. This will ensure no one is left behind.
How can we prevent digital isolation?
Libraries across the UK offer free access to computers. However, individuals who do not know how to use computers will require additional support. A problem heightened for computer novices in receipt of Universal Credit. These people risk sanctions if they fail to prove that they are looking for a job. Projects such as BT social tariff have also been launched to assist low income households and those on Universal Credits along with the National Databank. This provides free Sim cards and mobile data to those affected by data poverty, created by Virgin Media and O2 in collaboration with other digital inclusion experts including Hubbub and Nominet. It is a brilliant example of commitment and collaboration.
Employability hubs run by local authorities, charities and educational providers, provide individuals with free access and support while looking for employment.
Employability hubs offer many benefits, including a personalised plan to help individuals reach their career goals and track their progress. Services include:
- CV and job application support
- Advice and support with online welfare services
- Courses to build key skills
An additional benefit to employability hubs is that they offer in-person and online programmes ensuring that everyone has access.