A NEW computer suite and IT literacy project is being launched today in Edinburgh to help severely-disadvantaged people in the Lothians enter the world of work.
BT Scotland and the employment services charity Intowork are joining forces to launch the IT unit at the Norton Park Centre in Albion Road, Leith.
It will help around 300 people with disabilities including brain injuries, autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities and mental health issues to gain the kind of computing and internet skills which are increasingly essential to employers.
They’ll learn how to search and apply for jobs on websites, get through early recruitment stages increasingly completed online and find relevant information and services. Visual learning tools and online training courses will also be available.
The new IT skills suite includes six work stations including two laptops, internet access, interactive equipment, including an electronic till, and a social area.
Visiting the suite today, BT Scotland director, Brendan Dick, said: “People with disabilities are twice as likely to be unemployed and people with mental health issues and learning disabilities are even more disadvantaged. This has a hugely negative impact, not just on the individuals concerned but on the Scottish economy and society as a whole.
“Our new initiative will give disabled job seekers in the Lothians the chance to learn the IT skills demanded by employers in the digital age. We want to help people find work in roles that are all too often closed to them. Having confidence online also creates new options, such as the possibility of working from home.
“We also need employers to recognise the skills and experience of a pool of potential employees they may previously have discounted.”
Intowork supports people with disabilities from the moment they decide their goal is to find employment right through to when they take up a job and beyond. The IT suite is available to people using the organisation’s supported employment services in East, West and Midlothian, as well as the city of Edinburgh. Online training resources will also be available to people outside the centre, for instance using day care services linked to Intowork.
Intowork chairperson, Brian Drinkwater, said: “We are very pleased to have this support from BT Scotland. The new IT facility will enable us to expand the range of options we are able to offer the people we work with.”
The new initiative is part of BT’s Get IT Together campaign, which operates a number of digital inclusion programmes to help people get online. BT’s long-term commitment to digital inclusion benefits charities, disadvantaged communities and the economy.
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