At Moving On Tyne & Wear, we support people on their employment journey, whether that is finding and funding training courses, helping people secure work placements and apprenticeships, or supporting people to search for and apply for roles of interest.
However, we’re becoming more and more aware of the digital divide within our community. Many of our participants come to us with no, or limited, digital ability and no equipment to improve their knowledge and upskill in this area. This puts them at a massive disadvantage in our increasingly digital world.
During the past year, the enforced lockdowns and closure of community buildings made this divide even more noticeable and we’ve been working hard to support our participants in whatever way we can. This has ranged from organising the acquisition of Wi-Fi for participants isolated at home to signposting participants to training courses specifically for the platforms they struggled with (such as how to use Zoom, how to send a WhatsApp message, managing and sending e-Mails etc). But even more impressively we’ve even managed to purchase IT equipment for some of our participants who wouldn’t have been able to progress on their employment journey without it.
Many of us take owning IT equipment for granted. We tend to have a smart phone, a tablet or a laptop in our home and can use it not only for communicating with friends and family, but for day-to-day activities such as food shopping, paying bills and claiming benefits. We can also use them when job hunting, allowing us to search for the relevant courses, volunteering opportunities or vacancies available, researching the organisation and of course, applying for the position. For those who don’t have any equipment to do this, the ability to move forward is hindered.
After purchasing some equipment for one participant she was able to sign up to a course (taking ownership and responsibility of the situation) and can now complete the course and all associated work from the comfort of her own home (improving her time management and IT skills). She said:
Thank you so very much, I am so happy to receive this. It will be life changing for me
The participant is now able to access the outside world via her training course and can connect with her community to find volunteering and job opportunities. She is no longer isolated, and her confidence has been boosted, which in turn has improved her mental wellbeing – this has put her in a fantastic position to move forward on her employment journey with Moving On Tyne & Wear.
We’re proud to be able to offer this service to our participants and will continue to do so for those who need it. So, if you, or someone you know is putting off job searching as a result of poor IT skills or lack of equipment – then please consider coming to us. We assess each participant’s needs individually in order to make the best decision possible and could provide the equipment and training you need in order to help you move closer to the job market.