Working with vulnerable groups to develop digital skills

Published by Kate Gallant on

Turning Point Scotland (TPS) are working with the SCVO Digital Team and the Mhor Collective to train staff as Digital Champions.  This will enable them to work with different services users in a number of locations across Glasgow and the central belt of Scotland.

It was interesting to hear what staff thought would be the barriers for the people they work with.

Staff were keen to build their own digital skills, knowledge and confidence to be best able to become effective Digital Champions.

The group went on to discuss what opportunities they would have to provide support to those they were working with, including people with learning disabilities, those with addictions or at risk of homelessness.  Some of their ideas developed during the session included –

After the training TPS talked internally about how to progress some of these ideas and develop their Digital Champion project, a discussion which took place within the context of a wider digital transformation and new digital strategy that is being implemented within the organisation.

The great thing about the day for me was the participatory nature of the learning.  Attendees were given lots of opportunities to actively share information and ideas and so learn from each other.  A number of digital tools were used to support the training such as Padlet and Menti so demonstrating new digital approaches.

Training for the Digital Champions included signposting to resources to continue learning. These included logging onto the Digital Champions Network provided by Digital Unite and having a tour of the site plus suggestions of courses which would be particularly relevant.  Plus information on other training resources such as English My Way (to support people with no or low English language skills) and Think U Know which provides information about staying safe online.

Building digital skills for people who need to apply for benefits online, or access services online such as housing is a priority for organisations working with the most vulnerable groups. Key to this is the development of the skills of the staff taking on the Digital Champion role – building their confidence to support their service users.  Creating time for this can be challenging for all organisations providing services to vulnerable groups but especially for third sector organisations.

The Digital Champion training, with its focus on understanding the link between social and digital inclusion, highlighted how fundamental this is to reducing poverty and deprivation. Within this context, there is a clear role for One Digital in creating a dialogue and highlighting to service commissioners the need to build digital skills development into funding contracts, to benefit both vulnerable service users and the support staff who work alongside them.