Participants from an IT literacy course held at resource centres throughout the South East were honoured by Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte at an event in the Fr McGrath Centre on Friday.
The IT Literacy Awards were given to representatives from each of the 12 centres that took part in the initiative led by the South East Family Resource Centres Regional Forum, including the Fr McGrath Centre, Newpark Close Family Resource Centre, Urlingford’s The Mill, Callan’s Droichead Resource Centre and Bagenalstown Family Resource Centre.
The training took place under the Department of Communications’ “BenefIT 3” scheme that was rolled out nationally to teach basic IT literacy, and 1,000 adults participated in the South East scheme in the past six months.
“We are 20 years into the Information Age society where more and more services are moving online,” noted the Fr McGrath Centre’s Stephen Murphy, who is chairman of the regional forum.
“I congratulate you on becoming fully fledged members of the Information Age society,” he told the participants, and wished them well in the “employment and other opportunities that IT training will bring to you in the future.”
Minister Rabbitte acknowledged the work of the family resource centres and noted that the IT literacy training had cost a “very small amount of money and it is remarkable the impact it has had throughout the country.”
“There are people who never thought that they would be able to switch on a computer and now they have suddenly had a world opened to them,” he said.
With is a new divide in society between those who are IT literate and those who are not, the minister said that basic internet skills were essential for closing that gap.
“It does open a whole new window, not just basic things like being able to tax your car,” he said. “It is about staying in touch with your family and it is about equipping yourself and informing yourself for employment opportunities and so on.”