Building digital skills is a labour of love

Labourer Andy is building his digital skills step-by-step to improve his confidence and his chances of securing long term employment.

Andy is a day labourer who works on building and landscape sites. His work is seasonal from March to November each year, with three months seasonal unemployment from December to February. Due to his lack of digital skills, Andy started to notice the time out of work was becoming harder and harder each year.

Andy visits Power Up grantee Castlemilk Law and Money Advice Centre (CLMA) every day to sign on to the Government portal used to look for work and meet his Job Seekers Allowance requirements. Gerry Loughery, Digital Advisor at CLMA tells us about the challenging situation Andy faces, “Most lower paid jobs now have around 500 applications per role and some of the jobs have already closed by the time they are shown on the jobseekers portal.”

With the support of CLMA, Andy now searches twice a day for 15 minutes, meaning he meets his JSA requirements. He then goes and does his real searches on company websites for jobs that haven’t expired. Andy applies for three types of job: building site labourer, landscape gardener and ground worker. The DWP requirement is for Andy to create one CV, but because the last two jobs pay better, CLMA has helped Andy create a CV for each of these roles.

Andy’s hard work is starting to see results. Previously, his lack of digital skills was a real obstacle in applying for roles, now he can send the right CV to the right job within 10 minutes. The one-to-one support given by CLMA has given Andy the confidence and knowledge to apply for jobs online independently.

Gerry tells us about how he has worked with Andy: “Most of my work is not technical, it is confidence building. This means spending time with students, building trust with them and having a happy classroom. The way I used the Power-up learning materials was not to start with them. Andy had no experience of attaching a CV to an email and theory reading before doing the activity can cause stress to the student and impede their learning. At first I showed Andy how to send a CV, then we sent a CV together, then Andy sent three CVs on his own, then we went back and looked at the learning materials and after Andy put we he had learnt into practice again. In simple terms, do-learn-do works well for most adults. Andy’s new found confidence comes from the internalisation of applied skills with knowledge and supported practice in a safe learning environment.”