Free training in Dorset to get more people online

‘Embedded digital champion’ programme relaunched by Dorset Council in partnership with Barclays Digital Wings.

A free training programme aims to tackle digital exclusion head on by upskilling an army of special advisors. These ‘embedded digital champions’ or EDCs can then help their customers – and digitally excluded residents in Dorset more generally – to take advantage of the benefits of being online.

Three members of staff at Weymouth Library trained as embedded digital champions (EDCs)

Three members of staff at Weymouth Library trained as embedded digital champions (EDCs), photo courtesy of Dorset Council

The council-run initiative had already trained 1,200 frontline workers across the county. Free training is available to anyone who works or volunteers in a frontline role serving Dorset residents.

The training is undertaken online, so participants can take the course in their own time whenever is most convenient. By taking part in the course, which follows the national ‘essential digital skills’ framework, the new champions will be equipped to help their customers to access online services. At the same time, participants will also improve their own digital skills.

No IT experience is necessary. In fact, the EDC website says that, ‘Some of the best champions are those who understand what it is like to feel unsure and who don’t have all the answers to start with.’

Having completed the course, trained EDCs become part of a Dorset-wide community, receiving regular news, support and tips from Dorset Council’s digital skills team.

Penny Syddall, Programme Manager for Digital Skills and Inclusion at Dorset Council, says: ‘We are delighted to be teaming up with Barclays Digital Wings so we can reopen our embedded digital champion training programme to Dorset’s frontline workers. Whether it’s booking your doctor’s appointment or filling in an application form, so many things can now be done quickly and easily at a click of a few buttons or the touching of a screen.

‘But although it’s easy and convenient for most of us, what we need to remember is there are some people who do not feel confident doing things online – and that’s where the embedded digital champions come in. Embedded digital champions will be able to assist customers there and then or, if needed, refer them on for extra support and advice.’

For more information, see ‘Embedded digital champion training’ on the Dorset Council website.

In related news:

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Local government study shows most staff and councillors ‘unengaged’ in digital

Simon Guerrier
Writer and journalist for Infotec, Social Care Today and Air Quality News


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