How to sustain a Digital Champion project

What are the steps that the One Digital partners have taken to sustain their Digital Champion projects?  Here’s a snapshot of some of the tools in use to support and develop successful projects.

Partnership working is a key element to building successful Digital Champion projects. You’ll find information on how to build a fully inclusive project supporting the needs of all learners here.

Successful learner engagement

The first step to working with a group of learners is to understand their barriers to getting online and what would motivate them. Some projects screen learners to see what digital skills gaps could be a priority, for instance helping a learner to job search online.

Four quadrants with "engage learners" in the centre; screen learners skills at start and end of learning intervention; understand barriers and motivation of learners; offer mix of drop in, one-to-one and group-based learning; provide access to wifi and tech to support learning.

Projects offering a mix of digital skills support are most successful. This can include: drop in sessions where learners can pop in with a particular digital query. Learning can take place one to one, or can be in a group. An informal approach to learning is vital, especially in the early stages of gaining new digital skills. Some learners enjoy more formal, structured courses.

For many who are not online at home being able to access WiFi in a local community space is important as digital skills are developed. Some projects offer tablet or laptop loan schemes which give learners an opportunity to find out what tech would work best for them.

Successful Digital Champions

Digital Champions are at the heart of digital skills projects. How can you make sure your project is successful in support and developing Champions. The diagram below gives some suggestions.

Recruit Digital Champions who understand the challenges for your learners of getting online and show empathy and patience is more valuable than having lots of IT specialists.

Recruiting Digital Champions with lived experience of a particular barrier or disadvantage can help learners.

Regular recruitment of Digital Champions helps to meet demand from learners as well as developing Champion skills more widely across your project (through training staff and volunteers).

Train & develop Digital Champions

Provide good quality training for Digital Champions, encourage them to use the resources and advice available on the Digital Champions Network to plan sessions for learners.

Have clear role descriptions for Digital Champions and give them regular support in the role.

Provide Champions with information on key areas such as  

  • safeguarding 
  • how to help someone stay safe online 
  • how to signpost someone to other advice such as money advice 

Successful project communications

Communication tools are a great way to sustain a Digital Champion project. The diagram below provides some suggestions on how you can use newsletters, social media and regular meet-ups to share learning within your project and to motivate your Digital Champions. Working in partnership locally to signpost learners can also help to sustain interest in local digital skills training. Collecting case studies and data also helps stakeholders to recognise the difference Digital Champions are making to learners.