News, Events and Culture

Preparing Palmerston North for a digital future

Monday August 8 2016

Palmerston North locals can now access a free digital report to help improve their use of technology. All you have to do is fill out a survey to identify your digital strengths and weaknesses.

Photo shows schoolboy in headphones using a computer in the library.

The City Library has free wifi and computers that the public can use to complete the surveys.

The Digital Journey Project, run by the Palmerston North City Council, has been specially designed to help businesses, organisations, schools and individuals thrive in the 21st century. Three different surveys have been created to meet the different needs of each group.

“Our vision is that Palmerston North is well prepared for the future and the surveys are available to anyone who is interested in improving their digital literacy,” says Mike Manson, business development executive at Palmerston North City Council.

“This is about helping everyone benefit from new technologies whether they’re a business owner, a manager, an employee, a school teacher, or a retiree simply looking to upskill.”

Manson says the first step for anyone wanting to improve their digital literacy is to find out where they’re at now.

“The surveys map your current level of skill and then provide you with a step by step action plan to help you better navigate the online world.”

Stephanie Gundersen-Reid, chief executive of Manawatū Chamber of Commerce, believes the initiative will have huge benefits for businesses and their employees.

“Businesses that are engaged online can significantly increase their revenue, so there’s a huge benefit for them in taking part in this new initiative,” she says.

“In the not too distant future almost all jobs will require a higher level of digital knowledge and skills, and we all need to make a concerted effort to adapt to the major changes technology is bringing.”

The Council is encouraging as many people as possible to do the surveys so they can benchmark the city’s digital maturity over time.

Digital strategist Leith Haarhoff says the City Library is a great place for people to come and complete the surveys.

“We have free wifi and computers that the public can use. We really want people to come and do the survey, even if they don’t know how to use a computer. Ultimately we want to see everyone being able to connect and use digital technology in a safe and efficient way.”

The Digital Journey surveys are open from Monday 8 August until Wednesday 31 August. They’re free, can be completed online in 10 minutes, and participants go in the draw to win a mobile phone.