Adam Speight – A Digital Champion Case Study from Barnsley
Adam Speight has been a regular volunteer for the Get IT Together project in Barnsley since August this year, helping out at a weekly IT taster drop-in session at The Rockingham Centre in Hoyland Common. Although a little nervous at first, Adam has enjoyed supporting learners on an individual basis and has progressed to mentoring small groups at the session. Adam first made contact with the project following a suggestion from the Job Centre that he try volunteering to increase his confidence. He looked up volunteering opportunities on the website of the local volunteer bureau – Voluntary Action Barnsley – and found details for the role of Digital Champion with Get IT Together in Barnsley. After a quick chat over the phone, Project Coordinator, Alison, met up with Adam for an informal induction session and soon after, Adam began volunteering. Although his digital skills are excellent, over the last few months Alison has supported Adam to think more about how to relate to older people and develop the ‘softer skills’ crucial when in a mentoring role. A few weeks ago Alison conducted an informal 1:1 review with Adam and encouraged him to consider returning to education as he missed out on higher level qualifications due to personal difficulties. He has since applied to do an Access Course at a local College and is also exploring other learning opportunities. Alison took advantage of a quiet moment this week to ask him a few questions about his experience of being a volunteer;
‘I used to use computers at work so I thought it would be good to pass my skills on and also build my confidence. Volunteering gets you out of the house and you can make new friends’
What have you got out of being a Digital champion?
‘I really enjoy being a volunteer- there is a nice friendly atmosphere and the small groups make it easier. It’s good to work with absolute beginners because you can make them smile when they realise they can do something on the computer’
What would you say to people who are not yet online?
‘Just try it; it’s easier than you think! You will be learning in a relaxed environment where you can overcome your fears about using computers.’
What are your plans now?
‘Volunteering has opened up more options for me in my life. I have realised that I can use my skills in a different way rather than just focus on technology. I am also looking to go back into education and develop my own skills further.’