City and county family resource centres launch IT literacy drive

The Fr McGrath and Newpark Close family resource centres will be at the forefront of a new government drive to raise IT literacy skills and help improve people’s employment skills for the 21st-century labour market.

The Fr McGrath and Newpark Close family resource centres will be at the forefront of a new government drive to raise IT literacy skills and help improve people’s employment skills for the 21st-century labour market.

In spite of nearly 20 years of the information-age society, recent national research shows that only one in three Irish people are IT literate. This figure is much worse in lower-income and working-class communities and it could prove to be a future barrier to many people returning to or joining the labour market.

Minister Phil Hogan recently informed the Fr McGrath Centre that they were successful in their collective tender on behalf of 11 family centres in the South East for a grant to help more people become IT literate in their targeted communities.

Now both city family resource centres, already with well established reputations in piloting and delivering innovative education and employment training services and a long track record of piloting IT services to RAPID communities, will lead a new drive to train people of all ages to become IT literate in five hours or less.

Thanks to the government’s support, their centres and Urlingford, Callan and Bagenalstown FRCs and Happe House in the Hebron estate in Kilkenny will also be able to hire extra IT tutors to help meet the government’s new ambitious objectives.

Both city family centres say that they can teach anyone IT literacy in five hours or less. Their claim comes from more than a decade of experience teaching first-time computer users where they have been at the forefront of innovative IT literacy training in Kilkenny City thanks to many years of partnership support from FAS.

Liz Hogan, manager and IT tutor of Kilkenny Multimedia, the state-of-the-art computer training centre at the Fr McGrath Centre, said that no matter their age, everyone needs to be able to access the internet, and new developments in the information age mean more and more services can only be accessed by using the internet.

“Adults without these new literacy skills are already at a considerable disadvantage but in future this disadvantage will grow as more and more companies and government agencies move their services online and now, nearly every employer needs their staff to have some level of IT literacy,” she said.

Family resource centres offering the new service from this week are the Fr McGrath Centre and Newpark Close in the City and, thanks to FAS support, Happe House in Hebron Park. The Mill FRC and Droichead FRC in Urlingford and Callan are also offering the service to anyone in their county area and Bagenalstown FRC is offering the service to Carlow residents.

Details of the IT training course and its availability can be had from local family centres or by contacting Liz Hogan on 056 7752144 at the Fr McGrath Centre, Kilkenny.