STRABANE Community Unemployment Group (SCUG) launched their new digital hub on Friday to great fanfare.
Local councillors, community organisations, funders and others gathered at the Upper Main Street premises to celebrate the opening of the facility, which will aim to bring technological skills to the people of Strabane.
Perpetula Foley, project manager at SCUG explained, “The launch went very well. We had around 64 people in attendance and everyone was very impressed with what they saw. Our courses begin next Monday (January 30) with a digital photography course first up and we have a full complement of people signed up, which only shows how much people are looking for courses such as this.”
The hub was made possible thanks to a National Lottery windfall totalling £353,218 over five years and will see unemployed young people not at school or under-performing offered the opportunity to train in and learn new skills in readiness for entering an increasingly technology-based workforce. This will include digital training, mentoring and qualifications with the project now coming to fruition.
Chairperson of the group, Danny O’Hagan, is delighted that the hub is now up and running.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for the people of Strabane,” he said. “I have seen people go to Derry to do these courses in the past, requiring money and transport which, in these times, can be difficult to come by. The idea was to give Strabane people the chance to experience these courses on their own doorstep.”
Mr O’Hagan also spoke of the importance that employers put on technological skills nowadays and how that concept informed on where the group would spend the money.
He continued, “It’s important to know the next trend is in terms of skills and education. Technology seemed like the obvious avenue to go down. These days, the majority of employers require a basic level of computing skills alongside the basics of English and maths for jobs…
“We here at the group will work with individuals to ensure they achieve the qualifications required to attain those jobs, if and when they pop up. The hub is presenting a wonderful opportunity to Strabane people. Also, we have been conscious in sourcing all our equipment, going as local as possible to ensure the money is kept within the local community.”