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Digital world excludes NEETs

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screen-shot-2017-01-05-at-11-53-08A REPORT prepared by the Prince’s Trust and Samsung has called for greater digital inclusion for Wales’ most disadvantaged young people

The research, carried out by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), reveals that the disadvantages young people face offline are preventing them from making the most of the online world.

The report finds that a staggering 46% of young people who are currently not in employment, education or training (NEETs) in Wales believe that no one or almost no one can be trusted online

‘Slipping through the Net’, a report carried out by Dr Ellen Helsper at the LSE, reveals a clear distrust by Wales’ most disadvantaged young people of online interactions, which is a major obstacle in harnessing the d igital world to improve their situation.

While 53% of the UK’s disadvantaged young people believe that information found on the internet is ‘generally reliable’, 50% say that no one or almost no one could be trusted online.

While these young people were positive towards the potential benefits of ICTs (Information Communication Technology), they often ran into frustrations, from what they perceived as dehumanising experiences.

The report’s author, Dr Ellen J Helsper, Associate Professor in Media and Communications at LSE, said: “Whilst some of the young people we spoke to in the focus groups were resigned to the fact that this is an inevitable consequence of online interactions, many reported taking drastic action such as disconnecting altogether.”

Disadvantaged young people are using ICTs more to engage in employment related activities, yet they were less likely than their peers to succeed, even partially, through this medium (46% compared to 65% of their employed peers). Similarly, over half of these young people did not obtain a formal qualification through ICTs that they could not have obtained otherwise.

NEET young people expressed a preference to apply for jobs in person, rather than digitally, in particular because of the lack of follow up messages received from employers online. Many of these young people, who have a history with rejection, took this as a further setback.

One young person who took part in a focus group said: “I’m only going to find the local jobs and then I’ll go into the place and hand in my CV and stop there.”

Disadvantaged young people are also being held back in the digital world by their lack of softer social skills. Around 40% of them struggled with ‘netiquette’, that is decisions about their own behaviour or dealing with the negative behaviour of others online. The report shows that this issue also affects young people who are in education, employment or training.

Dr Helsper said: “Most of the time, the young people we interviewed in the focus group did not realise that these are skills which could be learnt and used to advance in life. Only more technical skills such as those taught in school were seen as requiring training.”

Only 17% of NEETs – arguably those who need it the most – had asked for help with using ICTs in the last three months. When they did ask, these young people relied on a narrower and less expert network of support often unable to teach them sustainable skills, instead of going to professionals such as help desks or teachers.

Philip Jones, Director of The Prince’s Trust Cymru, said: “We need to dispel the myth that all millennials know how to make the most of the digital world. Many disadvantaged young people, as this research shows, are not achieving positive outcomes online, in particular when it comes to education or employment. The findings show that a lot of young people struggle with social interactions online. We should ensure that these softer social skills, including safeguarding, are included in training programmes.”

The series of recommendations in the report also calls on employers to develop new digital services to avoid frustrating experiences, such as a lack of communication in particular with regards to online job applications.

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Christmas gift fair returns

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Last year at the Food Fair: The annual Christmas celebrations return this year

NEXT Friday (Oct 20), the annual craft and gifts extravaganza will return to Aberystwyth Arts Centre to get the locals in the mood for Christmas.

The Winter Craft & Gift Fair is sure to get visitors feeling festive in the run up to Christmas with over 80 stalls selling a wonderful array of crafts and gifts, many produced by local makers from Ceredigion and mid Wales.

This year will feature many regular stalls, as well as some who will be selling at the fair for the first time, so prepare to discover the unusual and unexpected at this year’s fair with it’s new layout and products for 2017.

The fair will be open from 10am to 8pm, Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5.30pm on Sundays all the way up until December 23.

On Saturday​,​ ​November ​​25, ​the Arts Centre’s Christmas Food Fair will take over the Great Hall for the day. There will be the very best of Welsh produce with cheese, meats, fish, wine, cider, pastries, puddings, jams and much, much more from many local producers. The Food Fair is the perfect place to stock up on a few gastronomic goodies in the run up to Christmas. There will also be live musical entertainment to get you in the Christmassy mood! The fair will be on 10am-4pm and entry is free!

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‘​I​t’s ok to say’

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FUW raise awareness: Urging people to 'say' on World Mental Health Day​

​ON WORLD MENTAL HEALTH DAY, farmers across Wales are being reminded that ‘it’s ok to say’ and the Farmers’ Union of Wales is urging them not to hide problems from themselves, their families and friends and to talk about their personal feelings.

The FUW made a commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show in July to continue raising awareness of mental health problems in rural communities and is therefore renewing the call for those who might be suffering from mental health problems to seek help.

“The focus of this year’s World Mental Health day is on mental health in the workplace and farms are just that. In our places of work we’ve faced some pretty low-points in the last few years. Bovine TB, price volatility and uncertainty about our future post-Brexit, this all puts a strain on our resolve and will have many feeling stressed and under immense pressure,” said Union President Glyn Roberts​.​

“But we must break the stigma attached to mental health, so if you’re feeling vulnerable, please open-up and speak to someone. That doesn’t just mean today, but always. Farmers and farming families need to continue talking openly about what they are experiencing and the FUW strongly encourages anyone who is worried about their own mental health or a loved-one, to seek help from the Farming Community Network, Tir Dewi, The DPJ Foundation, Mind Cymru or Call Helpline Wales,” added Glyn Roberts.

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Scholarship scheme funds student’s Masters

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One of the chosen few: Stella Foster (Pic. Mark Woodward)

A TALYBONT native is one of just 28 people in the UK to be awarded a scholarship granted by energy company ScottishPower.

Stella Foster, 32, gratefully received the grant from the Scottish Power Foundation for the 2017/18 academic year.

Having just completed an undergraduate degree in Chemistry at the University of York, Stella will begin her Masters in Environmental Sciences this week at the University of East Anglia. Environmental science degrees integrate biology, physical science and information sciences to examine environmental systems (air, water, etc.) and how they interact.

The sought-after scholarship covers full enrolment costs as well as a living allowance. On top of this, the scholars will receive unique opportunities including meeting leading industry professionals.

“Travelling around the world and living in China before I started my undergraduate studies made me aware of the astounding change of pace in urbanisation; the two-hour bus ride from where I lived to Shanghai, there wasn’t a moment where you couldn’t see a construction site,” Stella said.

“This fast and dramatic development creates issues with the environment, and I’m really excited to learn about the creative and fascinating solutions out there, and hopefully come up with some of my own,” she added.

Since it was launched in 2010, the ScottishPower Foundation scholarships programme has provided £1.5m in grants towards training the next generation in their chosen field.

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