Telia Company doubles its Digital Inclusion target
As societies become more digitalized, risks and opportunities linked to digital skills are increasing. Telia Company operates in the Nordics and Baltics, where access to connectivity and devices is relatively high but a lack of digital skills contributes to exclusion in various forms. Therefore, in 2021 Telia committed to reaching 1 million individuals through various digital skills building initiatives across its markets by 2025 and launched a group-wide digital skills program, based on analyses of local needs.
Since then, initiatives have been initiated and scaled, targeting groups that are at risk of being left behind, such as seniors, children, small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) and immigrants. These initiatives have helped children to learn online safety skills, seniors to feel more confident using digital services, women to reskill for careers in tech, immigrants to take their first steps in highly digitalized societies, and SMEs to protect themselves from increasing cyber threats. By the end of 2022, we had already reached more than 1 million individuals since the start of 2021, three years ahead of our target date of 2025. To stretch ourselves even further, we made the decision in early 2023 to add another million to our original target and we now aim to reach 2 million individuals with our initiatives by 2025. We are also collaborating with third-party experts to assess the impact of selected initiatives.
Examples of our digital inclusion initiatives include:
Making families’ digital lives safer
Children and youth are placed in a vulnerable situation in the online world due to increasing online risks in the form of abuse, bullying, disinformation and scams. Telia addresses these risks with initiatives aimed at increasing online safety skills among children and by providing online materials for parents and teachers, who play a key role in empowering children and helping them to build skills. Examples in our various markets include the Mobile Driving License program for younger children in Sweden, the Digital Parenting Package supporting family customers in Finland, the online safety learning game Spoofy in Lithuania and Estonia, and digital skills programs for school classes such as Growing Up Online in Lithuania and the Greatest Courage anti-cyberbullying initiative in Estonia.
Improving the digital skills of seniors
Seniors are in a vulnerable situation in the digital world due to their lack of, or limited level of, digital skills. We address this need by offering digital skills programs such as the Digital Senior program in collaboration with local municipalities, and by sending printed materials directly to seniors to reach those who might not be able to attend in-person trainings.
Empowering women and girls
There is a big gender gap in IT and tech professions in our markets. To close that gap, Women in Tech initiatives provide advanced digital skills and opportunities for women, including single mothers and women returning from parental leave, to jumpstart their careers in higher-paid tech professions.
Helping small businesses and startups to digitalize
SMEs sometimes lack the digital skills they need to fully benefit from digitalization and remain competitive. For the same reasons, they can also be vulnerable to cyberattacks. We address this shortfall by offering a series of seminars and webinars designed to increase cybersecurity awareness and digital skills overall.
Giving new arrivals a better digital start
People who arrive in our markets with little or no digital skills cannot benefit from digital services and may struggle to integrate into society. Even immigrants with academic degrees may experience difficulties finding jobs, including in the tech sector. We address these issues with initiatives such as the Digital in Sweden program that provide basic digital skills in local languages. We also provide mentorship or trainee programs such as the Startup Refugees Mentoring Program for immigrants with higher education in Finland.
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