The Minister for Public Finance & Digital Economy, Kate Forbes, has accepted Emma Harper MSP’s invitation to come to the Stewartry and visit a charity providing computer training to local people of all ages and abilities.


The IT Centre, has been based at the Community Centre on Cotton Street, Castle Douglas, since its establishment in 1996 as a result of an initiative by Dumfries & Galloway Council and was formally made into a charity two years later.


The aims of The IT Centre are to increase levels of employability, minimise the digital divide, enhance workplace and related skills, encourage progress on to further learning, and to reduce isolation and marginalisation.


Speaking in Parliament this week during a debate, ‘A Digital Society for All: Working Together to Maximise the Benefits of Digital Inclusion’, Ms. Harper used the example of The IT Centre as a model that other parts of Scotland should adopt.


The South Scotland MSP said in the Chamber: The IT Centre, managed by Jackie Williams, provides access to computers, laptops and tablets to people who are requiring digital services for their daily lives. People in the local area rely on The IT Centre for assistance with applications for jobs, welfare support, and also for access to college and university applications.
“The IT Centre also offers courses in CV writing, as well as introductory courses on the use of IT, basic programming and other programming like that. I’d like to see such projects rolled out across, and supported across, Scotland as we move towards a digital society.
“I would welcome the Minister to visit [The IT Centre] when her diary permits.”


Immediately following the debate, the Minister agreed to visit The IT Centre.  Emma Harper will now send an official letter of invitation to the Minister’s government office to arrange a suitable date for Ms. Forbes to visit the region.


Such a visit would see Kate Forbes MSP become the 22nd Scottish Government Minister or Secretary to formally visit Dumfries & Galloway in the past 12 months.


Jackie Williams, Manager of The IT Centre, added: “It was good to see Emma Harper raising the importance of digital skills in The Scottish Parliament and highlighting local charities like The IT Centre in Castle Douglas who are here to help those needing help with technology and those struggling to take their first steps.”

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