Go ON UK, a digital campaigning charity established by Baroness Lane Fox, has kickstarted a programme to improve the basic online skills of individuals, small business and charity across the North-East England.
The new Go ON North East programme would involve bringing down the number of individuals lacking basic online skills required to send and receive email, use a search engine, browse the internet as well as complete online forms.
With one in five UK adults (21%) falling below the basic online skills threshold and 7.1 million of them remaining offline, about 24% of adults in the North East region fail to receive the social and economic benefits from the web.
Go ON UK CEO Graham Walker said that the agency has learnt from lessons that working in partnership on a local level is key to bridging the digital skills gap in the UK.
"The unprecedented results of Go ON Liverpool have provided us with a blueprint," Walker said.
"We now want to do the same but on a much bigger scale in the North East of England."
As part of the project, Go On UK would work together with local authorities and businesses to build on the success of the Go ON Liverpool partnership campaign in 2011 that reduced the numbers of offline in the city by 55% about a year and a half period.
"We have given our partners 26 weeks to make a difference. Some partners will run events, provide access points or offer incentives," Walker added.
"Others are sharing data, advice, training and space. And we encourage everyone to build a network of local digital champions - real people in the region who are willing and able to share their digital skills with others."
The digital campaigning charity has also established a website dubbed 'digitalskills.com' to support the regional effort, which incorporates wealth of material and digital tools such as step by step guides and learning resources aimed at boosting digital capability of the regions
North East Councils Association chair Cllr Paul Watson said that digitally skilled people and workforces are vital to the economic competitiveness of the North East - now and into the future.
"North East councils are working hard to build on the good progress already made to encourage businesses and residents to develop and improve their digital skills, build greater confidence and adopt innovative approaches that will improve their employment and life chances," Watson said.
"At a time when all our efforts are strongly focused on promoting employment in our areas, there is no doubt that digital skills are critical to young people's educational attainment, access to job opportunities and to the world of work."
A new plan has also been launched by the charity to boost existing local digital skills to cut the number of people without the skills by 25% within a year.
According to Go ON UK, Anglia tops the list of worst effected region with highest (1.4 million) adults lacking basic online skills, followed by Anglia (900,000) and North-East England.
Established in 1957, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, promotes wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information...