Digital Inclusion

In 2018, 8.4% (4.5 million) adults had never used the internet (Source: Office for National Statistics) missing out on the benefits of being online that many of us take for granted - shopping, paying bills online and saving money, social networking and finding information you need.

Many others would like to improve their knowledge and confidence or make more of the internet and other digital opportunities, whether for work, career or personal reasons.

The common causes of digital exclusion are

  • skills and the confidence to use them
  • access to infrastructure, fast broadband and local amenities
  • cost including devices, broadband subscription or monthly fees for mobile data
  • motivation and the personal aspiration that makes gaining digital skills relevant and important.

Trade unions and their union learning representatives play a key role in:

  • giving opportunities for people to develop their skills and confidence
  • inspiring and motivating people
  • helping to overcome barriers

unionlearn resources

  • Working to Close the digital divide - a guide for union reps on supporting digital skills.
    Available online as a printable pdf and as an interactive pdf
    The interactive pdf has quick links to click and move around different sections of the guide and open up other websites for resources and information. It also includes an editable checklist template that you can use with colleagues and members to ask about their digital skills and confidence.
    Printed copies of the guide can be ordered too - email [email protected]
  • Unionlearn’s online ICT SkillCheck is an online tool. It asks a short set of questions on areas like using the internet, working with digital information and computer security to help people find their level of skills and think about where they would like to develop. It's free to use after a quick registration process and is available as a web version, and as an app. Union Learning Reps can use this with members to help identify where they need or want to learn more.
  • Many union learning centres offer digital skills training. Find a union learning centre near you by using the unionlearn directory of union-led learning centres and spaces. Information on over 150 centres can be found in the directory.
  • The union learning Climbing Frame has a comprehensive section on Digital skills with information on bitesize and free learning available, courses, qualifications, the union role and working with providers and employers. There are links to many resources, apps and websites for support and information on digital skills.

Unionlearn engages and works with many organisations too.

Good Things Foundation

Good Things Foundation is a social change charity, helping people to improve their lives through digital.

They run the Online Centres Network of 5,000 organisations around the UK that provide millions of people with access to technology and support in using it. Register to become a UK Online centre. Network members can access grants and resources.

Learn My Way is a website of free online courses, built by Good Things Foundation to help people develop their digital skills. Over 30 courses are available including ones on using computers and other devices, email, online forms, Facebook, and online public services to help people develop their skills and to encourage people to progress onto further learning. Register for Learn My Way - you will be asked for a centre code. The unionlearn centre code is 3450748.

The Foundation also delivers Get Online Week a campaign that has grown into a week-long, annual celebration, with thousands of events taking place each year in communities across the UK, giving everyone the chance to find the help they need to improve their digital skills.


doteveryone is a think tank which champions responsible technology for the good of everyone in society and fights for a fairer internet: one we can all understand and help shape for the future.

Digital Unite

Digital Unite is one of the UK’s leading providers of digital skills learning. They provide a range of resources and services to support people on their digital journey, from the complete beginner to those helping others to get online.

  • Subscribe to receive the Digital Unite newsletter.
  • Training and support to help Digital Champions and computer mentors develop their personal skills and teaching techniques so they can engage and inspire others with digital technology. Organisations can choose a Digital Unite package giving access through licences to the training and support available for their Digital Champion networks, and to project management tools for some packages.
  • Technology guides - an extensive range of free technology guides covering a whole range of digital technology aspects, from computer basics to internet security digital photography and using smartphones and tablets. The guides will be useful for Union Learning Reps supporting other learners, or in improving your own confidence and skills.

For more information, email [email protected] or telephone 0800 228 9272

Age UK

Among Age UK’s services they work to help people get the most out of the internet and increase digital inclusion. They have a technology and the internet section on their website with a glossary and guides to help people stay safe online and make the most of the internet.

Age UK computer training courses are also available, offering easy to follow courses, helping older people overcome barriers to getting online and enjoying what the internet can offer. More than 200,000 people in later life are helped each year resulting in a sense of increased independence and decreased social isolation and loneliness.

Get Safe Online

Get Safe Online is a public / private sector partnership supported by HM Government and leading organisations in banking, retail, internet security and other sectors. It’s a source of unbiased, factual and easy-to-understand information on online safety – for both individuals and businesses. Visit their website for information on potential risks and ways to protect yourself. A huge range of topics are covered from fraud and online abuse to safe browsing for children and protecting against identity theft.