Free courses to digitally equip youngsters and the elderly

Barcelona Activa has put the Ciberalfabetització project into operation, which consists of three free training programmes to help bridge the digital divide in the city. The city’s development agency has contracted and trained twenty unemployed people to run the courses, which are aimed at children interested in getting into the world of programming, youngsters hoping to become online book reviewers and over 55s starting to use mobile phones.

According to various studies, nine out of ten Barcelona citizens connect to the internet on a daily basis. A report on the digital divide in the city of Barcelona found differences according to neighbourhoods, age, labour situation and level of education. The First Deputy Mayor, Gerardo Pisarello, noted: “If Barcelona is the world mobile capital, it also has to be so in terms of the right to internet. We have a city which is highly-connected, but there are still people who can’t afford to pay for access to internet or who aren’t equipped to do so”.

The Ciberalfabetització programme consists of three short training programmes taught at thirty centres belonging to the Barcelona Library Consortium Network. The idea is to train over 1,300 people between now and April. Various editions of each course have been run with groups of ten to twelve participants. According to the First Deputy Mayor: “Knowing how to use new technology is a fundamental part of finding work, of being able to participate politically, and even relating to the rest of the people in the city”.

To get the project under way, Barcelona Activa contracted and trained twenty unemployed people via municipal employment plans. They will act as educators, at the same time complementing their own professional profiles to improve their future labour insertion prospects.

The initiative forms part of the plan ‘Barcelona Digital 2017-2020’, and complements other recent initiatives in the city, such as the doubling internet access points and the signature of the Barcelona Declaration for Digital Social Inclusion, an agreement with major operators to maximise the social impact of technology.