Digital participation

Digital media, above all the internet, is part of our everyday – professional and private – lives. Particularly in our professional worlds, the influence of digitalisation is becoming more and more apparent. In a study conducted by the University of Regensburg in 2014, 75 per cent of those polled said that they perceived very strong effects of digitalisation in their professional environment.

The competent handling of digital media has become a key qualification that opens new doors in the labour market and unlocks economic potential. For a knowledge-based economy such as Germany’s, the digital skills of employees and consumers are particularly important in international competition.

This is why digital integration is one of the main objectives of the German government's Digital Agenda 2014–2017. The focus is no longer on introducing people to the internet, but on fostering their digital competence and responsibility. Skills and know-how with regards to the information society are to be broadened and deepened, so that everyone is capable of using existing offers sensibly and confidently in their everyday lives. Against the background of growing e-commerce business and a decrease in local services caused by demographic change, firm action must be taken by all parties. Which approaches for strengthening media competence make sense?


Online banking made easy

Many Savings Banks offer seminars for beginners of all ages who wish to take a step into the 'unknown territory' of online banking. During these seminars, skilled instructors address the Savings Banks customers’ security concerns.

The internet training courses hosted by Sparkasse Langen-Seligenstadt have helped inexperienced users in getting started with online banking since 2001.

Tanja Lindner is happy. One of her students has just carried out an account query by herself through her smartphone. “Would you like to try to prepare a transfer?” The customer does, and quickly masters the task with just a little help from her instructor. This is what the seminar, organised by Sparkasse Langen-Seligenstadt, is all about: Within a day, customers learn how online banking works, on a computer or a smartphone.

The project has been a huge success, as evidenced by the high response rate. Most of the seminars offered by S-Academy, the Savings Bank's own training centre for online banking and security, are fully booked weeks in advance. Since 2001, thousands of participants have gained hands-on experience of the new possibilities of modern technology. “It is not enough to simply offer an online banking solution. People need to know how to make it work for them. That is where we help our clients, with face-to-face training,” says Christian Fahn, the director for online banking and electronic media at Sparkasse Langen-Seligenstadt.

The seminars cover all aspects of electronic banking, including security aspects like 'phishing'. The groups of participants are assembled according to knowledge, not age. Mr Fahn: “Our offer to individuals targets both customers with no prior experience in electronic banking and more advanced users who would like to take the next step towards mobile banking and start using our apps.” Sparkasse Langen-Seligenstadt is the only institution offering an introduction to the Starmoney software. The three-hour seminar, which costs €29, is not only appreciated by local customers. Savings Banks customers from as far afield as Berlin, Braunschweig or even Breisgau are also willing to make the journey.

Tanja Lindner of Sparkasse Langen-Seligenstadt very much enjoys the training sessions with customers.