Created on 8 December 2021

Developing Participants IT Skills

Over the last couple of years, HeadsUp Development and Skills Officers (DSOs) have spent a lot of time helping participants to make the most of technology that they already own. This might be  unused PCs to smartphones, as the majority of people in this day and age own at least one item that will allow them to access the internet. Showing them how to use their equipment stops our participants thinking about having to buy something new, both saving money and having a positive impact on the environment. One of the biggest issues with people getting the most from their smartphones however, is the size of the screen! If you’ve not used a touchscreen device before, then learning to type on a tiny screen can be a confusing and frustrating experience which saps your confidence.

IT to reduce social isolation 

Essex County Council recently invited organisations to bid for recycled Samsung tablets. With a ten-inch screen and using the same operating system as most smartphones, these tablets would provide a perfect blend of accessibility and transferrable knowledge. HeadsUp obtained 15 of them: some to loan out to participants and others to use in larger training events, but all with the aim of reducing social isolation by using technology.

Growing confidence

Our first tablet was recently loaned out to a participant in south Essex. He had been struggling with the size of his phone-screen, and his dyslexia made typing on it even more frustrating. Having been supported with the creation of a CV he wanted to take his job searching online, so one of our team met him at his local library to hand over a tablet. As well as showing him how it worked and linking his email account to it, we showed him how to use Google Docs for word processing and how to use the voice search function. They then looked at the similarities between this new device and the participant’s phone, showing that skills practised on the tablet were directly transferrable. The participant’s confidence grew as he realised that he already knew more than he thought, and that anything new he learned could be used on devices ranging from his own phone to a library PC. He will now continue to work with the HeadsUp team, building his wellbeing at the same time as developing his employability skills.

With more loans planned and our first tablet-based digital job searching session in the pipeline, we’re grateful for the opportunity provided by Essex County Council to once again adapt and enhance our support.


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