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Councillor shortlisted for high-tech award

Coun Nazia Rehman
Coun Nazia Rehman

A councillor from the borough has been shortlisted for national honours thanks to her success in rolling out a pioneering Duke of York digital scheme.

Coun Nazia Rehman is among finalists in the Technology and Digital category of the LGiU Councillor Achievement Awards following the successful take-up of the nationally recognised iDEA scheme and the delivery of the council’s digital strategy.

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In 2017, the borough was chosen to be the first local authority area to roll out the scheme and Coun Rehman played a key part in delivering this by encouraging residents to develop their digital skills.

Offered in manageable chunks, iDEA allows users to choose topics they are interested in from online safety to animation and is suitable for all, meaning families can complete the award together.

The scheme also led Wigan Council’s interactive iDEA work to be given the Digital Leaders 100 award for Digital Skills or Inclusion Initiative of the Year.

And, to congratulate some of the first bronze award winners, The Duke attended a ceremony at Leigh Turnpike.

Coun Rehman said: “I’m absolutely over the moon to have been shortlisted for this fantastic award. I am passionate about working with local people and believe that by offering opportunities for people to develop and learn, we can become a stronger borough.

“As demonstrated through The Deal, Wigan Council is committed to getting residents online. We know that in the future, these are skills that will be absolutely necessary in the working world.

"In addition, accessing services online can save the council much needed money and will free up officers’ time to help residents with more complex questions and needs.

“It was an honour to host HRH The Duke of York at Leigh Turnpike and we’re extremely pleased with how well the scheme has been received both locally and nationally.”

More than 1,000 borough learners have now completed 13,500-plus badges, with almost 300 people completing their bronze award.

Coun Rehman is Wigan’s first ever councillor from an ethnic minority background and has represented Tyldesley since 2016. In 2018, she was appointed as portfolio holder for resources, finance and transformation on the council’s cabinet, where she has shown her commitment to providing opportunities for people to learn.

According to Tech Partnership and Lloyds Banking Group, digital exclusion in Wigan has reduced from medium in 2015 to low in 2017 and is much lower than most adjoining boroughs.