Free digital skills training pilot program launched by the Centre for Eye Health in partnership with Guide Dogs NSW/ACT to support people with vision loss.
The latest data from the Australian Digital Inclusion Index reveals that 11 percent of Australians are "highly excluded" from digital services, meaning they lack access to affordable internet or lack the confidence to use it. This includes individuals living with disabilities, including low vision and blindness.
In an increasingly online world, digital skills are crucial, particularly for those navigating sight loss. Whether it's enlarging text on a mobile phone or utilising accessible technology, learning to navigate the online space safely can empower people with vision loss and allow them to remain independent and to stay socially connected.
Angela Allan, who has Aniridia, a rare genetic eye disorder affecting the iris, emphasizes the significance of technology in her life.
"I would be lost without technology," says Angela.
"My phone is now my third hand, and it helps me to stay independent. If you are living with sight loss, go and get digital skills training. It was scary at first, but you will get the value out of it."
To support individuals like Angela, who are navigating sight loss in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, the Centre for Eye Health, an initiative of Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, in collaboration with Good Things Foundation, has launched "Get Online Get Connected," a free digital skills pilot program.
Mirné le Roux, Business Program Manager at Guide Dogs NSW/ACT, expresses excitement about the program.
"We are thrilled to launch Get Online Get Connected. We understand how crucial it is to provide individuals with the skills and tools they need to stay independent online, as well as in the physical space," Mirné says.
"We have taken the time to co-design the training modules with people living with low vision so the training delivered is accessible and relevant to people with low vision."
The pilot program has started with five Good Things Foundation accredited training partners across NSW/ACT, delivering group training sessions with one-to-one support.
Participants, once registered, can attend unlimited digital skills training sessions for free until they are confident with using their digital devices and navigating the internet independently.
Sessions are designed to offer choice making digital learning enjoyable and accessible, with participants learning alongside like-minded peers discovering how to do more on their devices.
To learn more about participating in "Get Online Get Connected," the digital skills pilot program, click here.