Digital skills in Sheffield: Just Google it!

We work with lots of partners across sectors to make good things happen with digital and to reach those 11.5m people without basic digital skills. One of those partners is Google and today I was delighted to speak at the launch of their Digital Garage, right on Good Things Foundation’s doorstep here in Sheffield.

Helen

With our new ways of working, we’re doing a lot more internationally – we’re setting up offices in Australia, we’ve done work in the Philippines and we’re doing a pilot project in Kenya. But Sheffield is my home and I’m so pleased that Google has chosen to open a Digital Garage here.  

Our project with Google is based around their Digital Garage training and it’s aim is to help learners improve their digital skills and grow their confidence or business online. It’s great for both small business owners and individuals looking to boost their CV.

I was delighted to be invited to speak at the launch, along side Sheffield Heeley MP and Shadow Digital Minister Louise Haigh and Vice President of Marketing for Google UK Torsten Schuppe.

Learners who attend the one-to-one mentoring, masterclasses and workshops here will be able to boost their digital skills, very much like Alison from Cheshire.

A mixing bowl of skills

Alison owns her own business called Alison’s Bespoke Cakes and Balloons, but being dyslexic she lacked the confidence needed to use computers and the internet. After a little convincing from her friend Sue, Community Librarian at Eccles Library in Salford, she decided to pop along to their Digital Garage classes to get the help she needed to boost her business.

Alison is still taking part in the classes but her knowledge and perspective on computers and the internet has come a long way. She now has a Facebook page and is working on a website and logo with a professional designer.

Alison is great example of how the Digital Garage is helping people to not only boost their skills but also their confidence in using computers and the internet to make their business a success.

How you can get involved?

If you think you can benefit from the free training at the Digital Garage, they’ll be in Sheffield for six months, so there’s plenty of time to pop in and see what it’s all about.

For those who need to get to grips with the basics, the Google staff will be on hand to get them started on Learn My Way, while those who are a bit further in their learning journey or are specifically looking to use digital to further their business will be using the Digital Garage resources.

Any Online Centres Network members who are based in Sheffield – Learn for Life, Southey Forum and Foxhill Forum, to name a few – feel free to drop in and see what’s happening.

You can find out more about the classes and book on to some of their sessions here.

A touching trip to Longley 4G

This morning I went to my first Get Online Week event of 2015 at Longley 4G Community Centre in Sheffield. It was a truly touching and enlightening experience.

IMG_9510

There were a lot of people there who regularly attend the centre. People of different ages, from different backgrounds but for many of them the story was the same: they were unemployed and struggling to find work.

It was heartbreaking to hear some of their stories. The gentleman with me in the picture below is called Phillip. He is in his early 60s and suffers some health issues. He worked the same job for 25 years, a job which he enjoyed, and unfortunately was made redundant from. Since coming to Longley 4G he’s been applying for several jobs each week, sometimes as many as 20, but he never hears anything back.

IMG_9494

Stories like this are the reason why we do what we do. Get Online Week is about having fun, a chat and a cup of tea, but it’s really about informal events that are welcoming to everyone – including those with very real challenges, such as unemployment. Campaigns like Get Online Week highlight these issues and, more importantly, encourage people to start their journey to a more positive future – to really grab hold of what they want.

IMG_9489

To the learners and team at Longley 4G, thank you so much for having me today and for telling me your stories. Not only did I enjoy meeting you all and spending time in your company, but it also made me more determined than ever to make sure everyone has access to equal opportunities in life.

#EasierOnline

Your pictures have been flooding in. You’re all so creative, and I didn’t know there were so many things that can be made much simpler by using the internet. Here are some of my favourites from the past 24 hours:

GOLW15 Tuesday

I’m looking forward to seeing even more of your #EasierOnline pictures posted on social media. Don’t forget to post pictures of your events too using the #GOLW15 hashtag. I’m visiting two centres tomorrow – St Loyes and St Sitwell Centre – and Exeter Library to meet everyone there, including Ciara Eastell, whom I mentioned in my blog yesterday. I cannot wait!