A day in the life of our Digital Inclusion Worker #GOLW16

18 October 2016

Our Digital Inclusion Outreach Worker, Nick Cocking, blogs about what he gets up to to support residents to get online.

My day starts at 8am when I get my kids ready for school and warm up with a spot of yoga. By 9am I’m on the road and on my way to my first appointment in South Bristol.

My first session of the day is with Tara*, one of our residents who has always been nervous about using new technology. We’ve loaned her a tablet and she’s still getting her head around using it and accessing different websites. We sit down and have a look at the best way for her to stay in touch with her family, who live all around the south west. We strike gold and find a local IT training course being held at Tara’s local library through South Gloucestershire Council’s Community Learning programme, which is perfectly suited for a beginner who wants to learn more about getting online.

It’s now 10.30am and I’m back on the way to see another resident. Bob* is originally from South America and has recently had surgery. He’s spending his recovery time writing poetry and studying for an English degree. I find that Bob doesn’t have a word processing software installed on his laptop, so I show him a couple of different ones he could use and arrange to come back and see him next week to help download Open Office.

I stop for a spot of toast for lunch before I head off to see Hannah* who is a working on an IT qualification at the moment. She needed some tips on how to set up formulae in Excel. We run through a few quick examples when Hannah remembers some training she had a few years ago on another course, and is soon flying through her formulae. Hannah also told me that she’s looking at upgrading her mobile phone. We chatted about the plus points and downsides of different handsets to help her decide what to go for next.

I’m on my way out of Bristol now and heading into South Gloucestershire. The traffic is terrible but I’ve left myself lots of time to make my next visit. Fiona* works as a carer and wants to apply for PC through South Gloucestershire Council's refurbishment scheme. I help her to complete the application form, and at the end of my visit she mentions that her neighbour, Anna*, would like some advice about anti-virus software for her own PC. I’m looking forward to helping Anna find a suitable security software to meet her needs.

Back on the road and listening to sports on the radio, I’m nearly at the home of Graham*, my last appointment of the day. Graham wants to start his own catering business and is looking for some assistance to build a website for his new venture. We head to Google and find three local web designers who might be able to help.

After a day covering plenty of miles, both on the road and on the world wide web, I’m stopping off at the gym before I head home, have a snooze, and do it all over again tomorrow!

Do you need our support? Nick's team offers one-to-one support, training and advice to our residents about getting online, accessing Universal Credit payments, setting up an email account, and more. Call us on 01934 526000 or 0845 8729729 for details.

*Name has been changed