Digital Champions support the process of digital inclusion. This can mean working at a practical level, such as showing a person how to do something online, or at a more strategic role within an organisation.

Being a Digital Champion

Digital Champions help others understand the benefits of using the internet, and can show them how to do simple things online. This can make a huge difference to people’s lives. You don’t need to be a computer whiz, just have a bit of spare time, enjoy being online yourself and have a passion to help others.

Digital Champions can be of all ages and backgrounds; you might be a Digital Champion as a volunteer, or as part of your job role.

Digital Gwynedd Project Manager Daniel Richards (centre) acting as a Digital Champion and training people to use tablet devices.

Citizens Online works with our One Digital partner, Digital Unite, to support people to become Digital Champions. Their Digital Champions Network is an interactive destination that provides learning, tools and a friendly community to help you be a great Digital Champion. Through the Network’s training and support you will build your own knowledge and confidence so you can go on to empower others with the digital skills they need.

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer Digital Champion, please contact Digital Unite who may be able to point you to opportunities in your area, or just contact your local library or Citizens Advice and ask if they would welcome someone who is keen to help.

Working with Digital Champions

We believe Digital Champions are central to achieving digital inclusion and helping people with what they need and want to do online. Having the right Digital Champions with the right training in the right place can support your communities in a variety of different ways.

Through experience we have identified a number of different types of Digital Champions, and different contexts in which they can work and be effective. We believe having a blend of types of digital support is the best way to achieve inclusion.

From right to left: Two of Citizens Online’s Professional Digital Champions, Glenn Lloyd and Josie Jeffery, with Digital Brighton & Hove Project Manager David Scurr, and Citizens Online Operations Director Rich Denyer-Bewick

Digital Champions are often named different things, like Digital Friends, Digital Volunteers, Digital Leaders or Digital Helpers. We categorise Digital Champions into four main types:

  • Digital Leaders — people in strategic positions who understand the vital role of digital inclusion in service transformation
  • Professional Digital Champions — dedicated outreach workers who are recruited by an organisation, partnership or by us at Citizens Online to work solely as a Digital Champion
  • Embedded Digital Champions — who work in a specific role, such as a Job Centre Plus, Citizens Advice branch, or an HR or training department, but who integrate Digital Champion work into this role
  • Volunteer Digital Champions — who are recruited and trained by an organisation or partnership to support digital inclusion work, but are unpaid

There are pros and cons to each of these types, and in particular it is worth bearing in mind that volunteers don’t come “for free” — management time is required to recruit, train and support them, and they may leave the project at any time.

Digital Champions are the essential elements of our Switch approach to digital transformation – they get the work done on the ground and make a huge difference. Find out more about Switch or read our stories about the impact that Digital Champions have.