A guest post by Infoxchange CEO David Spriggs
When we launched Digital Springboard with Google last year we set ourselves a very ambitious goal – we wanted to address Australia’s digital skills shortage by delivering face-to-face training to more than 10,000 people across the country.
Only 18 months later we’re absolutely thrilled to have welcomed our 10,000th participant to a Digital Springboard session this week (a spreadsheets for beginners course delivered by the Youth Education Preparation Program in beautiful Hervey Bay in Queensland!
Digital Springboard was developed by Infoxchange and Google in response to the persistent digital skills gap in Australia that prevents many people from realising the full benefit of our increasingly digital world.
The program improves the digital skills of diverse and marginalised communities while also supporting transitions to work and career growth through courses that build job readiness skills, as well as more in-depth topics like social media strategy and an introduction to coding.
The courses are delivered face-to-face in partnership with more than 150 community groups, libraries and not-for-profits – a list that’s still growing!
We’re really proud of the impact that Digital Springboard has had in communities all across Australia since we ran our first course in Perth at a Google Digital Garage event in July last year. Since then, we’ve had the great privilege of supporting incredible people in Gundagai, the Barossa Valley, Shepparton and beyond to boost their digital skills.
We’ve heard some amazing stories along the way from the people who’ve come along to our sessions.
A chef who’d been out of work for some time had created a CV with his job network provider but wasn’t getting any job offers. After he completed our Digital Springboard Build a CV course and learned about online tools that could strengthen his CV, he got the first position he applied for. He’s full of praise about the course and the way it was taught.
I also loved hearing from Nina Piotrowicz from Cootamundra in NSW. When Nina’s mother-in-law became very ill, Nina stepped up to help with the family antiques shop. She looked for new ways that she could help grow the business and thought one way would be to build the shop’s online presence. She wasn’t quite sure how to go about it until she went along to a Digital Springboard course on social media.
After attending the course, Nina felt more confident using social media to attract new customers and as a result of her efforts the number of customers visiting the shop has doubled.
Nina told us, “I live in a small, regional town, so having a session like Digital Springboard available on my doorstep was fantastic. It really delved into the personal challenges faced by each business.”
It’s not just these individual stories that have got us so excited either. We’re now seeing Australia make much needed progress in terms of digital inclusion, with advances in South Australia according to the latest Australian Digital Inclusion Index. In SA alone, we’ve supported over 2,500 people to improve their digital skills in conjunction with the South Australian Public Library Service and other dedicated local partners. Together, we’re delighted to see the state’s digital inclusion score improve and we’re committed to ensuring it continues on that upward trajectory.
Our data shows that participants across the board feel more knowledgeable about the topic and more confident putting their new digital skills into practise after attending a Digital Springboard course. We’re particularly proud to see the courses having a great impact on participants from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, young people, refugees and people who are unemployed.
For anyone interested in more numbers, we’ve created a fantastic report that shows Digital Springboard’s reach and impact in more detail – you can view it online here.
The cherry on top for all of us is how well our curriculum and resources have been received among our delivery partners. Tara Lee, Digital Literacy Coordinator at City of Prospect, told us, “Digital Springboard is exactly what libraries and not-for-profits need to empower our community with digital skills”.
I want to say a huge thank you to Google.org and the Google Australia team for their incredible support of Digital Springboard. Their contributions have been invaluable in helping us to reach people across Australia.
We’re excited about the years ahead and the opportunities we have to build on our achievements with Digital Springboard, helping to close Australia’s digital skills gap by delivering the digital skills people need for work and life.
– David Spriggs, CEO, Infoxchange