Adapting for better digital skills
By expanding their digital skills support with the Building Digital Skills in Regional Areas Pilot, Merredin Community Resource Centre is empowering community members to be independent using technology.
Anastasia Eastwick, Administration Officer and Digital Mentor at Merredin Community Resource Centre, says the Building Digital Skills in Regional Areas Pilot has not only increased the digital literacy of their community, but also helped them realise the benefits of going online.
“A lot of older people in our community, the digital skills aren’t necessarily what they could be for a lot of people,” says Anastasia.
“But after the pilot, they have realised that online has a lot more to it than they think…the people who have continued to come are getting better and better each time.”
With funding from Wesfarmers helping cover the costs of promotion and staff time, Merredin Community Resource Centre’s program saw personalised, one-on-one digital skills support for learners. Anastasia says they emphasised building learners’ long-term independence and confidence, teaching them how to use their digital devices as well as how to access Be Connected online modules for future reference and practice.
Initially, Merredin Community Resource Centre was going to focus on helping residents to shop online following the closure of their local Target store. However, it soon became clear that the digital skills needs of the community were much broader.
Through the support provided by Good Things Foundation Australia and in consultation with their local business council, Merredin Community Resource Centre were able to pivot their program to cater to a wider range of digital skills.
Now, learners at Merredin Community Resource Centre have gained the confidence and digital skills to do everything from using mobile phones and MyGov, to getting on social media and making art online.
One learner, Anastasia says, has used her digital skills learnt through the pilot to promote her community gardening group. The learner has been creating posters and advertisements using graphic design tool Canva for printing in the local newspaper. Meanwhile, her online promotion is covered too – with the help of Anastasia, the learner was able to set up a Facebook page for her community garden, complete with automated replies.
“Our learners have been really positive and very thankful to have a place to get help with technology and getting online,” says Anastasia.
You can read how the Building Digital Skills in Regional Areas Pilot has made a difference across more regional communities in our case study series below.