A new campaign was launched today to provide people across Northern Ireland with the tools to upskill their digital abilities and improve online confidence as thousands of people turn to the internet to help navigate the COVID-19 crisis whilst tackling isolation at home.

New independent research commissioned by leading UK charity Good Things Foundation reveals a worrying gap in digital skills and confidence levels across Northern Ireland. More than one in ten people in Northern Ireland (14.2%) have little or only some of the digital skills they need to experience the benefits of being online.

Backed by Google.org, the charitable arm of the global tech company, and driven by Good Things Foundation, the new ‘Make It Click’ campaign aims to help adults understand how digital skills can change their life.

Through a curated collection of free tools and resources available online, Make It Click will help to upskill users with only limited digital skills to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive online.

The campaign is particularly pertinent for people currently self-isolating, with many relying on the internet to keep working from home as well as for everyday necessities such as food shopping, ordering prescriptions and staying in touch with family and friends.

The new research also reveals the stark impacts of living life offline – many respondents felt socially isolated from friends and family and reported lower levels of confidence from being digitally excluded – and compared to people who are not online at all, they are more likely to be seeking work or in low-paid employment. Amidst the current COVID-19 crisis, this is surely only to be exacerbated in the weeks and months ahead.

Many of those surveyed also say their lack of digital aptitude has made them feel disadvantaged when looking and applying for jobs to feeling underdeveloped in their career.