A BOARD has been created to support council plans for Dorset to use new and emerging technologies to ‘drive economic growth for the county’.

The Digital Place programme board will support a team at Dorset Council in its work to use emerging and new digital technologies to meet the current and future needs of communities, businesses and visitors.

Some projects the board will be looking at include trialling the use of 5G and reducing the off-line population of Dorset, particularly through the use of volunteer digital champions to provide basic digital skills training.

Ian Girling, chief executive at Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is one of the board members.

He said: “I’m very excited about the things that this new board plans to achieve and I’m very pleased to be part of it.

“The work we are doing will help people use new technologies to make their lives easier and bring them new opportunities.

“We will also keep pushing for greater digital and connectivity across Dorset which will lead to a whole range of benefits for anyone in Dorset including transforming public services and driving economic growth for the county.

“The opportunities for businesses are huge and this is very timely given the transformation we have seen in business models over the last nine months.”

The board is made up of representatives from local organisations including Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils, Dorset CCG and Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership.

It will ensure that, as well as connectivity and infrastructure, Dorset residents will have the skills they need to be able to interact digitally and that businesses will have access to people with the digital skills they need.

Councillor Peter Wharf, deputy leader of Dorset Council, also sits on the board. He said: “People are sometimes put off by the word digital, but it simply means using data and technology to improve people’s lives, listening to what they need and understanding their experience to design solutions.“The most important thing is not the technology itself, but what we do with that technology and how we give everyone the skills they need to make the most of it.”