We welcomed a participant recently who joined Moving On Tyne & Wear after taking early retirement from his job in the ship building industry. He’d spent many years working as a steel fabricator and travelled to multiple countries as part of his job, however his working days weren’t over and he struggled to see what he could do next after what he considered to be quite a limited work history.
He discussed his goals with his Navigator Joe, and it soon became apparent that he lacked some digital skills which was affecting his confidence and his ability to move forward. He was only able to write short text messages and make phone calls, so the idea of searching for and applying for job opportunities online was confusing and daunting.
It was clear that to help him, we first had to address his digital skills.
Joe put him in contact with VODA’s Digital Champions Outreach Programme. This project works with volunteers to deliver digital outreach support to people who already have a tablet, smart phone or computer and an internet connection, to make the best use of their device. The volunteers work with a person to help and guide them towards being better connected. Due to COVID-19 restrictions at the time, all of his sessions were held over the phone which posed many challenges, however in only 2 weeks he went from being able to send the odd text message to using email to register accounts on websites, attaching documents to emails and even shopping online.
It’s early days, but our participant’s digital skills are growing quickly and competently. His enthusiasm towards the support he has received and the commitment he shows towards getting to grips with what has learnt has been outstanding. When asked what he thought about the Digital Champions Outreach programme, he said:
I’m really pleased with it, it’s made the world of difference, and I’m quite proud of myself
And he’s not the only one, we’re so proud of him too! He’s picking up skills quickly, demonstrating dedication and a brilliant work ethic. He’s even started to learn independently by using Google to answer his own questions. His digital abilities will not only help when he is ready to look for a job, but in all other areas of his life too.