Digital skills to continue to grow in Uusimaa next year
The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council will continue to provide digital support next year when the digital support pilot is extended into a nationwide programme. Digital skills are today’s new civic skills, which all of Finland is responsible for ensuring.
The Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council has taken part in the Ministry of Finance-funded national digital support pilot for around a year’s time. During the pilot, the region’s residents have been offered support in the use of digital services and in developing their digital skills. The provision of digital support will continue next year when it is to be expanded into a nationwide activity that covers a total of 14 regions.
“During the pilot year, we noted that there is a wide range of people from young people to seniors in need of digital support. Digital support involves fundamental issues such as social well-being and gaining one’s footing in working life. Digital skills play an important role in active participation in society and its construction,” says Tiina Markkula, Project Manager for the Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council digital support pilot.
Digital support actors are tasked with ensuring that all citizens have adequate digital skills and with facilitating the non-discriminatory use of official public services in Finland.
“Digital skills are the new civics skills. Although we Finns are generally very skilled in the use of digital channels, not everyone has the same opportunities to learn digital skills or the use digital services. This is where the digital support network’s actors step in to help. They ensure that citizens have equal and fair access to services, provide hands-on support and motivate people to learn,” says Project Manager Minna Piirainen from the Population Register Centre, who is tasked with the coordination of digital support.
The Population Register Centre supports the work of the regional council-appointed digital support networks and acts as an advocate for digital support. Regions are tasked with steering their area’s network of digital support actors, increasing the recognition of digital support and developing the availability of digital support.
“When numerous organisations, municipalities, authorities and companies join forces under the direction of the regional councils, digital support providers can form a driving force for change that will have an important role in developing a more service-ready and successful Finland. The use of the digital world belongs to all of us,” Piirainen continues.
In Uusimaa, tens of actors have participated in the provision of digital support during this pilot, and with access to new funding this network will grow.
“We want digital support to be comprehensively available and easy to find in all parts of Uusimaa, also outside the Helsinki metropolitan area,” Markkula explains.
Tiina Markkula, Project Manager, Helsinki-Uusimaa Regional Council, tel. +358 40 640 2076, [email protected]
Minna Piirainen, Project Manager, Population Register Centre, tel. +358 295 553 5280, minna.piirainen(at)vrk.fi
What is digital support?
- The Ministry of Finance grants aid to the regional councils for the regional coordination of digital support.
- The effort is being coordinated by the Population Register Centre (from the beginning of 2020, the Digital and Population Data Services Agency).
- Regional councils bring together their area’s digital support providers and see to it that services are easy to find.
- Digital support is provided by municipalities, public actors, organisations, different projects and companies. They comply with the ethical principles for digital support.