In 2013, Cosmic ran a Digital Apprenticeship programme; we recruited 6 young people looking to enhance their digital skills. The programme ran for 12 months and gave them an opportunity to take advantage of placements within other organisations. One partner that signed up was Yarlington Housing Group. Over the 12 month period, they had two of the apprentices working with them for one week a month in their technical support team. Yarlington helped to show these two young people what it was like to work in a larger organisation in fast-paced team.
In addition to this we also worked with Yarlington Housing to develop a new leadership training programme for their managers. The aim was to engage emerging leaders in a personal development programme which would not only extend their learning, but also build commercial awareness and would offer them new opportunities and a chance to develop a strong peer network, all of which would help them to excel as future leaders.
The programme brought individuals together from a variety of departments and supported them to learn and develop leadership skills, partly through delivery of a range of key leadership workshops delivered by our own CEO Julie Hawker. The programme also asked individuals to plan and undertake a project which asked them to select and visit a key leader who they recognise as someone with the ability to inspire their own development and help to inform Yarlington’s 20/20 strategic plan.
Over the past 2 years we have been working with the Yarlington as their IT training partner with the focus predominately being around digital inclusion. During this time, we have been able to support residents in a variety of ways with the vision of reducing the number of individuals that are currently digitally excluded.
The main focus has been around tailored 1-2-1 sessions with individuals, either in their homes or in a public place. Residents have the option of 3 to 6 two hour sessions with a Cosmic IT trainer. We have helped residents to log on to the internet for the first time, explore the options of staying safe online, helped to create social media pages to keep in touch with loved ones, discussed the benefits of online banking, looked at searching for information online and helped with computer basics to create the opportunity for people to build on the 5 essential digital skills needed today.
We have also run group sessions for those looking to learn about job search on line, create professional CVs and how to use the internet to manage their finances. We have also supported other areas such as social media and family history
We also run weekly drop in centres to support those with lesser needs. It creates the opportunity for individuals to come in with their devices and ask a Cosmic Trainer for help with their questions or queries. These sessions are designed to be hands-on and in a relaxed, informal learning environment where residents talk to each other and as a result learn from each other as well.
We have really enjoyed all aspects of working with Yarlington and look forward to what we are able to achieve together over the following years. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Yarlington Housing and their residents for all the support that they have given us. The partnership we have formed has been a very special experience and one that we hope will continue into the future as together we continue to tackle the local need of social and digital inclusion.