The Come Along! (Ole Kaasas!) training sessions started again this past week, aiming to teach 10,000 Estonians how to use computers and the internet. The free-of-charge trainings offer participants wider opportunities in the job market and in their studies, make it easier to gather information and deal with daily tasks as well as provide opportunities for being more active as a citizen and a local community member. In 2011, the project will establish 35 Come Along! computer clubs all over Estonia.
According to Statistics Estonia, in the first quarter of 2010 a total of 758,000 people or 74% of the Estonian population aged 16-74 were using the internet. This places Estonia 13th in Europe.
Despite the high internet penetration rate, there are currently around 260,000 adults who cannot use a computer or the internet. For them, this means less opportunities in the job market and in studies, less democratic participation as well as less community involvement.
Last year, 54,000 people took part in free-of-charge basic and advanced trainings offered in Estonian and Russian. During the sessions, participants were taught to use a computer, the internet, ID card, mobile ID and various e-services such as digital signatures. The trainings were co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
In 2011, the aim is to train 10,000 further participants. This year, the trainings are financed by private companies – EMT, Elion and Microlink. In cooperation with the Smart Work Association, 35 computer clubs will be established all over Estonia. These will continue providing internet and computer support to the participants also after the training. In addition, the clubs will organise training seminars on smart work organisation at home and at the workplace.
The Come Along! internet involvement project was initiatied in the spring of 2009. The project aims to provide computer and internet training to 100,000 people and connecting 50,000 more families to the Internet over three years.
by Marit Lani