Finalist category: Digital Skills Award
Digital Skills Award, Finalist, 2018
A pioneering approach to improving skills and work experience opportunities.
Nominet Digital Neighbourhood is a unique digital skills training and work experience programme. Pioneering a new approach to tackling two of the UK’s most pressing challenges in digital skills it is equipping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with relevant digital skills and matching them with local SME’s who themselves are looking to boost their digital capability.
The scheme is a triple-win; helping the young person to gain valuable work experience and develop vital workplace digital skills whilst helping SMEs get online and benefit from reaching more people with their products and services.
This programme trains young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 18-24 in a range of digital skills – such as SEO, digital marketing, social media and more. Following three days of training, advice and support, Nominet Digital Neighbourhood then brings them together with local SMEs to offer them paid work experience opportunities.
The scheme is founded on the belief that young people need an opportunity to gain experience to enable them to apply for and secure a paid job. Technology is enabling them to secure a placement with an SME, while also helping the SME take advantage of the world of opportunities that digital marketing and the internet offers them.
Students who took part in the Nominet Digital Neighbourhood embarked on a three-day training course with a qualified expert covering social media skills, Google AdWords and SEO. They are then matched with a suitable local SME that required their skills for a paid placement. Students use the skills they have learned over the three days to help get the SME online using basic digital marketing techniques.
Many small businesses, social enterprises and charities still lack a significant web presence, and as such the benefits it can bring from reaching more people and reducing costs. Our research ahead of Nominet Digital Neighbourhood found that over a quarter of small businesses on the high street still don’t have a website, and only 13% delivered the most demanded online services.
Whilst the young people aren’t expected to become experts in digital marketing techniques and technology in three days, what they learn will enable them to help kick start a more commanding web presence for organisations who perhaps don’t have the skills themselves.
By equipping young people with digital marketing skills, it allows them to inspire their friends and share their successes through peer networks. It’s also more likely to encourage them to be more entrepreneurial, giving them the skills they need to set up small enterprises with friends. While working on their placement, they will be inspiring the SME to get online and use the skills they learn.
From the business’s perspective, once the placement has ended, they will take the reins and continue with the digital techniques they learned from the young person. In turn, they may encourage or inspire other local businesses within the community to get online and reap the benefits.