Volunteers shine at Risca Digital Day event
The Wales Co-operative Centre Marketing Team has been visiting Digital Day events today, helping to capture a day in the life of digital learning in Wales.
Mark Smith has just returned from a Digital Friday drop-in session at Risca Library. Here’s his story…
I’d never been to Risca before, let alone the town’s library. Situated next to the former Risca Palace cinema, the library, which was only opened 18 months ago, still had that ‘new smell’ about it. It looked pretty plush inside, a nice layout, plenty of computers and a welcoming, friendly atmosphere.
I made my way to the first floor, where Communities 2.0’s Rachael Davies was overseeing a drop-in session. This is nothing new for libraries in Caerphilly Borough, as the Get Caerphilly Online partnership has been running Digital Fridays since last Christmas. What was different today – Digital Day – is that drop-in sessions were taking place, simultaneously, in 17 different libraries! Quite an achievement.
Back at Risca, while Rachael was showing a learner called Kyle how to create an e-mail account, two volunteer tutors – Aled and Kelly – were also busy. Aled was assisting Kathryn to sort out her spam filter on e-mail, find her CV and to search for jobs on Universal Jobmatch. Kelly was sat with a very enthusiastic group, showing them everything from Google Street View to Historypin. Two of Kelly’s learners, Terry and Jill, said how much they enjoyed the social aspect of getting online in the library, as they could go to sessions as a group of friends, while meeting new people along the way. Both Kelly and Aled said how important it was that they were able to help people to increase their skills as they look for work – a key issue at the moment, with the Universal Credit to be accessed online in the near future, while the Universal Jobmatch helps people find work.
The session was a busy one, with people coming going as they pleased. The range of people’s questions meant that Rachael, Kelly and Aled needed to be on their toes and ready to help people with whatever query they could throw at them. It’s a real skill to be able to draw on that knowledge and impart it in such a way that people can understand, are not concerned about trying something new online and, more importantly, want to learn more.
I was really impressed with what I saw at Risca Library and it’s due, in no small part, to the partnership arrangement that has been put in place through Get Caerphilly Online. Well done to all involved.