McQuaid, Ronald W, Lindsay, Colin and Greig, Malcolm (2003) Wired for work? ICT and job seeking in rural areas. Project Report. York Publishing.
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Rural areas are, by definition, affected by their relative peripherality from industrial and population centres, and their dispersed patterns of economic and social activity. The geographical remoteness of many rural communities limits the
availability of public services, which tend to be concentrated in highly populated areas. The scattered and sparsely populated settlements that are typical of many rural areas also generate specific practical and financial problems for public agencies charged with delivering services. As a
result, policy makers are increasingly turning to Internet and other ICT-based approaches (such as telephone helplines) to deliver services. However, given that ICT access and use tends to be concentrated amongst more affluent and skilled
people, concerns have been raised that ICT-based services will not be readily available to the most disadvantaged groups in society, potentially deepening their sense of exclusion.
This report seeks to discuss these issues, with specific reference to the current and potential role of ICT, and especially the Internet, in delivering job search services for unemployed people. We address two key questions facing policy makers and service providers tackling labour market disadvantage in both rural and urban areas: • What are the potential benefits and barriers associated with the delivery of services for job seekers through the use of ICT-based
systems, and particularly the Internet, in rural and other labour markets? • What is the nature and extent of the ‘digital
divide’ affecting unemployed job seekers and what policies are required to address this problem?
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