Scotland: get ready to Discover digital

October 10, 2017


Do you live in Scotland and want a helping hand with your phone, tablet, social media or web skills?

Meet Alistair and Steve, the newest members of our Three Discovery team, who are trained up, kitted out and ready to travel to you. We’ve been running free Discovery digital skills sessions in Islington, Maidenhead and Swansea for a few years now, working with individuals, community groups and businesses in those areas – but we reckon it’s time to get, ahem, mobile in Scotland, too.

From this week on, our reps will be setting out to community centres, schools, job centres, businesses and youth centres in Scotland to help people get what they need from digital technology. It’s just the beginning of a commitment to making our Discovery sessions available across the entire of the UK by the end of 2018, via every one of 324 of our Three stores.

Hi Steve (at the back)! Hi Alistair!

According to the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), at least one-fifth of adults in Scotland are missing out on basic digital skills; the kind that can help us stay in touch with loved ones, apply for jobs or just make our day-to-day lives easier. This is why they’ve created an initiative, called Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter, which is supported by the Scottish Government. At Three, we were delighted to be able to sign up to this just as our Scottish Discovery sessions are starting.

We spoke to Alistair at the end of their first day on the road, and it seems he and Steve have already covered a lot of ground.

How’s was your first day of Discovery in Scotland?

We visited a group of 5-year-old Beavers in a church and taught them how to build their own games using basic coding. We were blown away by how strong their imaginations were – the ideas were beyond anything I could have come up with! We also went to a youth centre to show a group of 20 teenagers how to learn code by playing games on the Hopscotch app. In the not-so-distant future, knowing how to write code will be a really valuable career skill. 

In the same day we helped a 94-year-old woman learn how to use an iPad. By the end of the session she had used Facebook to look up an old friend in Toronto who she’d lost touch with. She didn’t know if he was still alive until then, so it was a truly lovely moment for me. When we were in training ourselves, we took part in Discovery sessions with groups of senior citizens where they start out saying they don’t need to know about the internet, but by the time we’ve shown them a thing or two they’re looking up pictures of where they were born, and singing along to favourite old songs they never thought they’d hear again. 

Who else will you be helping?

We can offer a choice of 5 or 6 different sessions to people who run small businesses or charities. It can be hard to know where to start if it’s just you or a few employees. We help people get the hang of Google apps for online office admin, set up a Facebook page that finds them local customers, and even post on Instagram. We were part of a session in Maidenhead where we helped a woman set up a blog to promote her business; she’d previously paid a fair bit of money to someone for a website that never materialised, so being able to do her own marketing with next to no cost was really important for her.

We’ll also be working with job centres to support people who are looking for work. 90% of jobs these days require basic digital skills, so it’s vital to make sure yours are up to scratch if you’re looking for one. And so many employers recruit workers digitally that it’s easy to get overlooked if you don’t know how to look for jobs online, post your CV on LinkedIn or apply via a website – even make a short video for an employer.

Alistair (l) and Steve (r) get down to business for a Discovery session

What would you say to anyone wondering if Discovery is for them?

If you’re feeling a bit nervous about signing up for a Discovery session, please remember we’re not a school – we’re here to teach you something but it’s all about what you want to learn; it can be as complicated or as simple as you want it to be. Even if you just want find out how to call or text – that’s all you’ll learn. 

When we were training ourselves, we worked with a woman in her 80s who’d been given an iPhone for Christmas, but only knew how to unlock and lock it. We discovered that her son had been sending her pictures of her baby grandson since then, and she hadn’t known; there were about a hundred pictures waiting for her. Helping her learn how to take a selfie to send back in return was so rewarding. By the end of the session she was adding everyone she could think of to her Contacts list so she could text them – something she’d never been able to do before. 

And while kids are never scared of picking up an iPad and pressing buttons, the rest of us might be a bit scared of breaking things or doing things wrong – but with Three you’re in the safest possible hands. The ethos of the Discovery sessions is “Explore, Learn, Enjoy,” and that’s always the case with our sessions. We always have seriously good fun, because this is something we really enjoy doing.” 

If think you or your business, group or school could benefit from taking part in a Three Discovery session, email or pop into one of our stores for a chat about what you need to know and how we can help you.