Digital skills support for everyone

It is not enough to have access to technology – everyone also needs to have the skills and confidence to use it.

Not everyone in Australia has the access and digital skills they need to fully participate in society – but together, we can change this. Community-led digital skills support puts the solution in the hands of local communities, providing essential digital skills for people who need them most.

Our Blueprint to Close the Digital Divide calls for:

Creating capable Australians through expanded local digital skills support

Woman using a mobile phone. Text reads: <40% of Australians are confident they can keep up with technology (ADII 2020)It is not enough to have access to technology. Everyone also needs to have the skills and confidence to use their digital devices and the internet. As Australia becomes a leading digital nation, it is critical that everyone has the digital ability and confidence to participate in work, study, and connect with friends, family and essential services online.

Good Things Foundation Australia makes an impact nationally by capacity building, distributing grants and empowering our network of 3,500 community organisations to deliver digital inclusion programs in their local communities.

Community-led delivery has been shown to be highly-effective when it comes to providing essential digital skills support. An evaluation of the Be Connected program for Australians aged over 50 showed that the delivery of digital inclusion programs through community organisations results in participants improving their digital skills, confidence, safety and social connection.

It is vital that digital support is within easy reach for all Australians – in every city, town and community across the country.

The national community-led digital skills program Be Connected for older Australians has engaged one million learners in under five years, creating $4.01 in social value for every $1 invested. Expanding this essential skills program or creating a similar network-based program for people of all ages will enrich the lives of even more Australians and could deliver even greater social return on investment.

Uplifting those most at risk of digital exclusion

Alongside a national digital skills program for the general population, federally-funded, tailored digital skills programs for those most at risk of digital exclusion are needed to ensure no one is left behind.

Community delivery ensures this flexibility, allowing for accessible, in-culture and in-language support in a trusted environment. The funding and expansion of tailored digital skills support via community delivery is needed for priority groups, including women returning to the workforce, low income families, people with low English literacy, new refugees and migrants and people with disability.

Read more about the impact of our tailored community-led digital skills programs below.

Embed solutions into existing support programs
Text reads: 87% of jobs in Australia require digital skills By 2030, this figure is expected to rise to over 90%

There are opportunities to embed digital inclusion solutions into existing support programs and government initiatives to make sure those at higher risk are not left behind in the transition a more inclusive and sustainable digital economy. This includes support for:

  • New migrants and refugees: Digital devices and in-language digital mentoring need to be integrated into existing migrant programs and settlement services, such as the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and Humanitarian Settlement Program.
  • People with disability: Access to technology and funding to support digital literacy, needs to be available as part of every NDIS plan for adults with disability.
  • Jobseekers: Existing employability skills programs are offered through community-based providers, who are supported and upskilled accordingly, to support people to be job-ready for the digital economy. This recommendation falls in line with the Productivity Commission finding that foundational work-ready digital literacy programs need to be delivered through community adult education alongside traditional education.