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Helping young people make a digital connection

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A group of young people in the Black Country are set to benefit from a scheme which provides them with essential digital access.

The scheme, provided by the Department of Work and Pensions, aims to help young people who are digitally excluded. This may be because they lack access to either devices which can access the internet or the funds to purchase data to allow them to use it.

The funding will be targeted at 16-29 year olds who are already in European funded programmes. The project will provide and loan a device such as a tablet or laptop, complete with a three-month allowance of data via a data dongle, to existing European Skills Fund participants who currently have no access to online services and information.

The project will help digitally marginalised young people to gain access to online services and information and allow them to engage in the digital society, including helping them to stay engaged throughout any further local or national restrictions due to COVID-19.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:

It seems easy to assume these days that everyone has ready access to the digital world and all the learning advantages and development opportunities this offers.
However, we know that some of our young people cannot either afford a device such as a tablet or laptop in the first place or are in data poverty and unable to afford wifi or phone contracts
This scheme will help those disadvantaged young people we are already working with to access a world of information and learning.

Dudley Council is the lead authority, co-ordinating the project on behalf of Walsall, Sandwell and Wolverhampton councils and Black Country Talent Match, who collectively run the Black Country Impact programme.

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