The aim of the project is to explore the ways that digital outreach, and in particular digital mentors, can help to tackle digital exclusion in South Yorkshire.
The project has an overarching goal which is to increase the level of skill, confidence and, as a result, quality of life of South Yorkshire citizens to make us a digitally empowered region. By offering help and support at a range of different levels, MITP - JtD is offering everybody a chance to take their skills to the next level.
We are now living in a digital world, where information and opportunities are available at the touch of a button. However, many people are missing out because they lack the skills and the confidence to use technology. They may not realise the endless benefits that new technologies can offer or they may feel too intimidated to ask for help in getting started. By exploring the role of Digital Mentors (Digital Outreach Trainers), this project directly addresses the reasons that people are digitally excluded.
As this is an innovation project, MITP – JtD is constantly moulding to suit the needs of all involved and will be continuously evaluated by the National Institute for Adult Continuing Education (NIACE). The project’s transnational strand will also steer the project as it enables us to learn from similar initiatives throughout the continent and to share successful models with our European partners.
Join the DOTs
Digital Outreach Trainers (DOTs) are volunteers who have digital skills and knowledge that they can share with others. Whether this covers taking photos on mobile phones, paying bills online or using interactive television, DOTs don’t have to be technical ‘whizzes’; they are helpful, understanding and unintimidating. The MITP – JtD scheme recruits DOTs and provides them with the necessary training to help others as well as offering valuable qualifications which will boost their CVs.
Once DOTs are registered, they join an online community and keep a digital diary which tracks their progress as a digital mentor. The Sheffield College is responsible for the accreditation process, which progresses the DOTs from trainees to fully qualified, and provides each DOT with an e-mentor to support them.
The Sheffield College has also developed a set of learning materials to be delivered in conjunction with the mentoring scheme. These support numeracy and literacy development for learners at the participating colleges and learning centres. The materials are localised to the four Boroughs in South Yorkshire, which makes learning relevant and interesting.