TalkTalk and ee are the champions!

05 Jul 2013 |Written by Aniela Kaczmarczyk

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been from Plymouth to Edinburgh doing Digital Champion training with employees from communications giants TalkTalk and EE.

TalkTalk: Digital Champions Mercy Foundation Centre

Their passion for technology and enthusiasm for sharing it has been infectious. Now more than 150 volunteers - from finance workers to customer service advisors - are armed with the digi-champ know-how to take that enthusiasm out and about. Their job as Digital Champions is to help inspire people to give online life a go, and they’re ready and willing to help local UK online centres.

The UK online centres network runs on volunteers. We estimate there’s around 25,000 of them, all giving up their time to help others get to grips with computers and the internet. Unbelievably, though, it’s still not enough. In order to do more, centres need more hands on deck, and that’s especially true when it comes to expanding their work outside of their buildings and into their communities.

Outreach is so important because it helps centres get to the people that would never come through their doors in the places they feel most comfortable - but it takes more time and more staff to set up and deliver. That’s where the EE and TalkTalk digital champions come in. The digi-champ training gives them the skills to do that first stage ‘inspiration’ bit, go out and get people really excited about what technology could do for them. Then they can point them to a UK online centre where can go to get expert help to learn more.

The volunteers who have already been matched to UK online centres and run inspiration sessions are getting a real buzz from helping people, and the centres they’re supporting are getting a new, enthusiastic volunteer singing their praises and sign-posting their services. It’s a great example of how large organisations can do something very simple, very practical and very effective to help close the digital divide.

Both EE and TalkTalk are partners in Go ON UK, and committed to making the UK the world’s most digitally skilled nation. It’s been an absolute pleasure to train their volunteers, and a delight to see the boost it’s given the centres and communities they’ve started to work with.

A big thank you to everyone involved - you really are the champions!