A group of Heideveld residents participated in the City of Cape Town’s Digital Literacy Programme held at the community library on Friday 26 October.About nine participants were given the opportunity to be put through their paces in digital literacy, in the hopes that they will inspire more residents to join the programme to acquire much-needed digital skills. According to a statement by the City, the residents decided to empower themselves by becoming digitally literate and, in turn, they will now be able to help their children and grandchildren with homework and research for projects when needed.The programme is being presented at various City libraries by the Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) department and encompasses training in computer hardware and embedded software, including Basic Writer (open-source Word equivalent), Basic Calc (open-source Excel equivalent) and internet security. “The challenge for us was to tailor-make a programme that catered specifically for the individuals, bearing in mind that they have not had access to a computer previously. “Importantly, it had to empower them (participants) with basic digital literacy skills to give them a sense of confidence and pride. It was most impressive to see the participants grasp the content quite quickly. “We are pleased that they found it fairly simple to follow. The only way to make the training as inclusive as possible and ensure that residents find value in the programme was to tailor the programme,” says Andre Ford, senior project administrator at the IS&T Digital Inclusion Department.The City acknowledged the self-motivation and commitment of the group members, who did not want to miss out on the opportunity to be a part of the digital revolution. Mayco member for corporate services, Raelene Arendse says: “My message to all residents across communities is that one is never too old to learn a new skill. I would like to commend the Heideveld group for taking such a bold step to empower themselves. Developing their digital skills will not only help to improve their access to technology, but will also open doors to future entrepreneurial or employment opportunities,” says Arendse.“Residents are reminded that the City’s SmartCape centre is available for them to practice their newly acquired skills. The only way they can grow and improve their skills is to practise what they have learnt. “Help is always at hand in the library should they need further assistance; and they can make use of SmartCape for free, for a period of 45 minutes per day depending on the demand.”The participants are now able to compile a CV for themselves. When asked what they would do next with this newly learnt skill, it was unanimous: they want to finalise their CVs and apply for job opportunities to improve their lives. “The individuals are a source of inspiration to their peers in the community and to other residents. I tip my hat to them for their enthusiasm to become digitally literate and have asked them to go out and encourage more friends, family and neighbours to join the Digital Literacy Programme. “We encourage young and old residents and community organisations to make use of these excellent learning opportunities. While the City fulfils its role of creating a learning environment, we ask community leaders to encourage residents to make use of these valuable digital literacy programmes. It will be to their benefit in the longer term,” adds Arendse.