The UK government continued its drive to increase Internet take-up with a visit to the Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) on Thursday.
Ivan Lewis, minister for adult skills and vocational education, attended an event at the RNID's head office in London on Thursday as part of Britain's Get Started campaign.
The event was designed to show how deaf and hearing-impaired people can find jobs and training courses online. Unemployment among this group is running at four times the national average, and the RNID hopes that IT skills can buck this trend.
"The Internet is an ideal form of communication for deaf and hard of hearing people," explained John Low, chief executive of the RNID, in a statement. "For many, it can be a crucial lifeline and revolutionise their lives. There is a 19 percent unemployment rate amongst deaf people, compared to 5 percent nationally. Gaining IT skills is a significant way to help buck that trend," Low said.
The Get Started campaign aims to get more people using the Internet. The initiative includes free Internet tasters, and is supported by a wide range of organisations including Age Concern, Citizens Advice and the Prince's Trust, plus technology companies such as BT, Intel and Microsoft.