Skills for Care

Supporting the adult social care sector with digital upskilling

28 Nov 2023

3 min read

Nada Wakeford

  • Digital
  • Learning and development

In this guest blog, Nada Wakeford Project Manager, Sussex Digital in Reach Team, shares how their team has been supporting the adult social care sector with digital upskilling and their experience of the Digital Champions programme.

In today's fast evolving digital landscape, keeping updated with the latest technological advancements is vital. Our team, dedicated to supporting the social care sector, recently embarked on an exciting 11-month digital upskilling programme in collaboration with Barclays Digital Eagles. Our mission was to equip social care staff with the essential digital skills needed to thrive in our technology-driven world.


Digital Champions

The cornerstone of the initiative was the digital upskilling programme, designed to provide a flexible learning experience through eLearning modules and webinars. We customised the content to cater to the specific needs of the adult social care sector, with a focus on enhancing digital skills and boosting confidence across all age groups, backgrounds, and experience levels. The flexibility of this programme made it especially attractive to the sector.

Complementing this, we introduced the Digital Champions Programme—a structured educational journey spanning three weeks. It also consisted of eLearning modules and webinars tailored to accommodate a diverse range of people, including volunteers, employees, and community members eager to support their peers but it was not social care specific, it was designed for anyone who wanted to support the people around them.

Social care teams preferred a flexible digital upskilling programme that allowed them to learn at their own pace without the obligation to complete all learning modules.


Key learnings and highlights

Throughout the programme, we explored a range of digital tools and software, including Teams, LinkedIn networking, OneDrive, Zoom, cloud storage, fraud prevention, password management, device security, and the Microsoft Office suite, which included Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint. The availability of webinars, including customised sessions on intermediate Word, Excel, and Teams, significantly enriched the learning experience.

One of the best parts of this programme was the chance to connect with colleagues, share knowledge, and see people have fun and gain confidence and practical skills, empowering them to explore on their own.


Applying Digital Champions Skills

The impact of the Digital Champions Programme went beyond professional growth and helped people in their personal lives. The knowledge and skills they gained enabled them to help their colleagues, residents and even relatives use technology effectively. They were able to:

  • improve communication dynamics, as staff members find it easier to seek help from colleagues for digital technology challenges, fostering a collaborative atmosphere;
  • empower and gain life skills from seeking help with digital issues, benefiting individuals both in and out of the workplace;
  • increase cyber and data security awareness, with digital champions promoting safe practices such as secure email use and password protection;
  • provide some technical support, included tasks like network connection, screen sharing, document formatting, basic Excel, and understanding IT terminology;
  • Play a broader role, assisting with the implementation of digital systems like digital social care records;
  • support residents in accessing various online resources, from fitness, to religious services classes to communication with families.


The vital role of Digital Champions

Within organisations, Digital Champions have a crucial role in fostering a culture of digital literacy and ensuring that everyone is on board with the journey of digital transformation. They may not always be technical experts; they empower others with technology, making it easier to understand and use.


Challenges and adaptations

Our journey in digital upskilling provided valuable insights.

Define the Role of Digital Champions:

Make it clear what Digital Champions do and what's expected of them. This ensures everyone understands their role, making the programme successful. Give Digital Champions enough time to do their job well.

Provide training:

Train Digital Champions and support them. This training can cover specific tools or software  or Office suites. While their role is not necessarily technical, it would be very useful to have someone not only enthusiastic, but also able to provide practical support

Encourage participation:

Get everyone in the organisation involved, regardless of their position. This creates a culture of digital literacy and ensures everyone is on board. For larger organisations, consider having multiple Digital Champions.

In conclusion, the Digital Champions Programme isn't just about learning; it's a journey of empowerment in the digital age. It boosts confidence, promotes a culture of inclusion and learning, and encourages embracing change.


Find more information and support about building your #DigitalConfidence on our spotlight page.

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