As the world becomes more ‘web based’ it is often assumed that everyone has computer knowledge, access and experience. Many government services can now only be reached online, while more and more job opportunities are only advertised and able to be applied for over the internet. Whilst this reduces costs and streamlines processes for government departments and other businesses, it can often exclude people who haven’t had the opportunity to learn basic computer skills and gain knowledge of the digital world or who simply have no access to a computer.
Our Digital Inclusion classes seek to address this by providing basic IT skills such as setting up an email account, improving on internet search skills, teaching internet safety for online purchases, security and password creation.
Our dedicated Digital Inclusion specialist shows students how to use important websites such as Universal Job Match – which is compulsory for many people claiming DWP benefits – job search sites and engines, benefit calculators and house swapping sites for social housing. In addition to lessons on how to access these services, we assist with digital applications for housing, higher education and training courses; and accessing the multitude of free online courses offered by many universities and colleges across the world.
‘Thanks to the patience and time given teaching me how to use the internet, search for jobs and open and use an email account I have been able to find a part-time job and enroll in a course to complete my GCSEs and hopefully improve my chances of finding better work in the future,’ – Digital Inclusion Student
These basic skills taught in our Digital Inclusion classes give a great foundation for students to go on and improve on their knowledge and abilities, apply for jobs and courses with confidence and be able to use commonly used programmes such as Word and Excel which are used in most offices and on many courses today.
We further assist this process through our job club, run from our Day Centre. Here we teach students how to search and apply for roles they are interested in online, how to create a C.V that will capture the attention of potential employers, what a cover letter for job applications should include and how to prepare for the all important job interview when an application is successful.
We cover all relevant topics related to securing work – what to say in a covering letter and include in a CV, how best to present yourself for interview and even preparing for interviews and anticipating the types of questions that will be asked.
A daily job board is created by our tutor which details all the jobs available in the Barnstaple area each week, collated from a number of different websites, illustrating to students the variety of work available locally.
As not every application will be successful, we also work with students to ensure that an unsuccessful application doesn’t break down their confidence and rather is viewed as a learning experience that will make them stronger and better in the next application, coaching students to keep looking and not to lose heart.
All of the skills building and meaningful occupation work done by Freedom allows people to work their way towards the futures they want and turn their dreams into a reality, but it also has wider benefits for our local community too. Figures from re-offending drop dramatically; in some cases from 70% to just 12%, increases in social enterprises occur, unemployment drops, families re-unite and overall our communities gain strength and resilience.