Free computer skills workshops are being offered across the Parkes Shire to help farming communities access vital online services. The workshops will be run during September and October, and are designed for beginner and intermediate skill levels.

Parkes Shire Drought Response Officer, Roger Kitson, said "computer literacy is a vital skill in an increasingly modernised world. The need for digital literacy becomes more apparent in times of stress, with drought information, support and funding accessed through online services."

"This course offers them the chance to expand their skillset and tap into the opportunities that exist within the digital world."

"As farm business activities are increasingly managed online, farmers need some level of computer literacy to maintain an advantage. Sourcing hay and fodder locally is becoming more difficult and online resources and networks open farmers up to more suppliers, and more competitive prices," Roger said.

Roger stressed that the benefits go beyond accessing government services and managing their business.

"Being able to utilise technology also enhances social well-being. With families often spread far and wide and a lot of community information shared on-line, computer literacy helps increase social and community connectedness through social media."

"We are really excited to be providing this free training, which we hope will be a fun day out for farmers. These free workshops will be fully catered, and all participants will be given a course manual to take home. Eligible farmers will also be given a free tablet so they can use their new skills right away," Roger said.

The workshops are an initiative by Western NSW Primary Health Network and will be delivered by training specialist Anne-Maree Kerr with support from Neighbourhood Central and Parkes Shire Council. All sessions start at 10am and finish at 4pm. Numbers are limited to 20 per session. Farmers must register by calling Roger Kitson on 0428 868 200.

  • Trundle Library 23 September
  • Tullamore Library 24 September
  • Peak Hill Neighbourhood Central Hub 28 October
  • Parkes Neighbourhood Central 29 & 30 October