Finalist category: Digital Volunteer Award
Digital Volunteer Award, Finalist, 2020
I initially started volunteering at the Clarion Futures Jobs Club as a way to begin working again while recovering from mental health issues. There, for the first time in my life, I get to work for something that feels important and impactful for people. I see many people struggling to keep up with the technical requirements of the current times. Everything is online now, so some people who’ve never needed computers in their life before are falling through the cracks.
I might meet a welder in his mid-fifties who has lost his job, and can’t find any work doing what he knows due to his lack of qualifications or his age. He’s unable to find work in other areas because he can’t use a computer. He’s been told to apply for benefits online, and that it’s a simple process. But he doesn’t have a computer, or even know how to turn one on. He doesn’t have an e-mail address. He needs help to get help, and this is where I come in as a Digital Champion.
It’s awful to see people who want to work to be in this position and I have expanded my volunteering to help at the beginner’s digital skills class enabling me to assist more people, build their digital confidence and as a result, help them to navigate through a world that isn’t friendly, and to see them get to meet it on equal footing. That’s important.