Ignite IT is an IT support company that provides a range of services, including digital skills education and training. They bring the training to their learners through ‘roadshows’, setting up courses for them to complete and by keeping in touch to provide help where needed.
When they became involved in Good Things Foundation and Lloyds Banking Group’s commitment to bring digital skills and confidence to those who aren’t online, this ‘portable’ approach seemed like the ideal way to reach a wide audience.
Ken Callaghan, Managing Director at Ignite IT, explains: “We set up stalls in or outside of the Halifax branches in Belfast on Safer Internet Day and spoke to customers to show them the benefits of being online.
“We gave demonstrations of the ‘Learn My Way’ online courses, aimed at helping users increase their digital skills. We also highlighted how the internet could support them, by keeping in touch with friends, finding out new information as well as helping stay in control of their finances.”
The team at Ignite IT received a lot of support from the Halifax staff, securing approval for their ‘roadshow’ from the Head Office in Northern Ireland.
Ken explains: “The managers were very cooperative and supportive of the scheme and it was a real coordinated effort, where we worked with the banks’ employees to make this work.
“The Halifax staff had leaflets on their desks to give out to customers, and at some branches, their Digital Champions came out to lend a hand.”
Ken adds: “A lot of the people we helped were very surprised at how easy using an internet connected device is and that they already had these devices in their pocket. We got a lot of people asking a range of digital based questions which is great. Once people have basic digital skills they then get the enthusiasm to learn more advanced things.”
Ken believes that digital skills are important life skills now and will continue to be in the future. He says: “I think that things move on all the time and we are moving towards a society where it’s going to be a necessity to be online. Teaching people about digital now is especially important as there has to be a level of confidence in using computers and the internet before people will even think about using an online service.”
Thanks to their work on the road trip, Ignite IT now has a good partnership with Halifax and hope to continue their work together in the future.
Ken says: “It’s been such a positive thing to get them involved in what we do and it’s helped us to reach even more people with digital skills. When you do a good job, it leaves a good impression and you can see that in our new-found relationship with Halifax.”
Jim McCooe, Lloyds Banking Group’s Ambassador for Northern Ireland said: “As the UK’s largest digital bank we’re passionate about improving the basic digital skills of people, businesses and charities as part of our commitment to help Northern Ireland prosper.
“Working with Ignite IT in three of our Halifax branches on Safer Internet Day was a fantastic opportunity to educate the community on a safe and positive way to use the internet. Ken Callaghan and his team from Ignite IT spent the day sharing their knowledge and expertise with customers and members of the community, to help them learn some valuable digital skills. It was a really successful event that provided members of the community with access to their free online courses that focused on how to manage their money and stay safe.”