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Minister Rabbitte extends basic digital skills training

Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte T.D., today announced he is extending the availability of basic digital skills training under the BenefIT 3 scheme.

This means that the training that was due to come to an end at the end of June can now continue into the second half of the year.

“This training is proving very popular. This is clear from the very positive feedback we are getting from the people who have availed of the training all over the country. I am very heartened to see the beneficial impact it is having on so many people. This is clear from the feedback we are getting. It’s reflected too in that almost everyone (99%) who has completed the training says they would recommend it to others.

“In response to requests from several of our training partners I am arranging to extend the scheme so that training can continue to be provided through the autumn and into the latter part of the year.

“I am very eager that we get the message out that this is a wonderful opportunity for people who have not yet engaged with the internet. You don’t have to take my word for it – just look at the feedback we are getting [see note for information below]. I am keen that we bring this to the attention of anyone else who could benefit from engaging with the internet – and really that’s everyone who has not engaged yet. Here is the chance to learn the basic skills that will open all kinds of doors for you whatever your background or interests. I’d like the media to highlight these opportunities and local groups and representatives to bring it to the attention of those they feel could benefit from it.”

Extending the scheme means that training will continue to be available at locations all around the country for anyone who wants to learn how to use the internet, eMail or learn the basic digital skills that opens so many doors today.

For information on where training is available see

For further information: Press office DCENR 01 6782441 / 087 6937580

Note for Editors

· Under the BenefIT 3 scheme training is being made available to about 40,000 people. Training is mostly provided through local groups in community facilities – it usually amounts to 6 hours over a number of weeks. At most it costs a nominal fee of €20 and in some cases is free.

· Of those who have availed of training under the scheme to date 36% are aged 65 or older, 24% were unemployed, over 7% were people with a disability. About 3 people in 10 said they felt they would be able to teach the skills they had learned to someone else and almost one person in three said that as a result of doing the course they intended to buy a computer, laptop or similar access device soon.

· The training focuses on the basic skills people need - like how to use eMail, how to do an internet search, how to use services like skype, conduct simple on-line transactions like book a ticket, pay a bill, reserve a book, as well as optional training relating to digital photographs, banking on-line, or using the internet to assist with your own areas of interest.

· The training is being very well received with trained who have completed their training saying they found it very useful. Ranked in order or popularity based on trained feedback to date Information search is most popular, followed by eMail and then on-line transactions. Also highly rated in terms of usefulness to the trainees were skype, introduction to digital photography and on-line banking.

· The training is being provided involving over 200 organisations in a wide variety of venues spanning approximately 700 locations. The Department is investing €1.88m in the scheme.

· The comments below are extracted from feedback forms completed on-line by trainees over the past few months. They give a sense of what people who have participated think of these courses.

“This was an excellent course especially for older people. I really got great benefit from it and which I will be putting to good use in the future.”

“ As a raw beginner I found this course to be excellent”

“ Very enjoyable learned a lot very easy to follow”

“I was never on the internet before this has opened my mind”

“ I thoroughly enjoyed this course, it was very beneficial to me as now I feel I would have the confidence to order online, and also I feel I would be able to use skype now.”

“ You could not improve on it. It was excellent.”

“ I found this course very relaxing and I learned a lot.”

“ have got over my fear of computers. Really enjoyed the course. Learned loads. Tutor was very good and was eager to help at all times. Would recommend to others.”

“ can now pay my bills online and I'm teaching my husband how to use the internet.”

“ This course def gives confidence, especially to people of my generation. I have done other basic courses but could not grasp it. I AM NOW OVER THE FEAR OF COMPUTERS'THANK YOU”

“I really enjoyed it all and I will go on to do further courses, I am 64 years old so I can tell everyone that it is never too late to start.”

“ I was glad I received the leaflet in my letter box. I'm really glad I did this. I liked both other students and tutor. We learned a lot”

“ Having been taught the basics using the computer is not so daunting anymore.”

“ I loved the course but I could have done with more time on some of the topics.”

“ I thoroughly enjoyed the course my children can no longer call me "Technologically Retarded" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Many thanks for offering me the chance to do this course.”

“ The security details were very good”

“ A very informative course. I learned a lot from it …… I can now use email…view news paper, RTE, Revenue, Donedeal. I would like to learn how to use Skype. Thanks for the chance to do this course”

“ Very useful course. I am no longer afraid of using a computer. Instructor fantastic and very patient with everybody. Another few sessions would be great and appreciated greatly”

“This course has opened up a whole new world to me. I can now reply to e-mails and send same and Google. Our facilitator Sarah was very patient and was so helpful. I would really recommend this course to other would be Silver Surfers. Bring on the next one please.