The COVID-19 crisis highlighted the importance of digital connectivity with many residents unable to access online learning, employment support and online support due to data poverty, lack of or unsuitability of devices as well as lack of motivation and skills.
The City is developing an approach to get Wolverhampton residents digitally included recognising that investing in digital inclusion is fundamental: it is not a ’nice to have’.
Wolves Online is a device and connectivity lending scheme aimed at supporting Wolverhampton residents to get online to access services, participate in online learning and search for employment. Devices are distributed through a network of ‘trusted partners’ who commit to support their clients to get online and improve their digital skills.
Devices are lent with a sim card to enable clients to get online for approximately 90 days. Devices are pre-loaded with a few selected apps and links to useful websites to access services, help search and apply for work, keep in touch with friends/family and colleagues, learn new digital skills and job search. The devices remain in the ownership of the Council and certain sites are restricted.
We are inviting partners and community organisations to become trusted partners in the scheme helping to distribute devices to their clients and help them get online and improve their digital skills through #Digital Wolves which gives links to a range of basic and essential digital skills. Trusted Partners need to be willing to commit time to support their clients to get online which can be time intensive.
Trusted Partners are encouraged to register as Online Centres as part of Online Centres Network which provides members with access to e-learning platform Learn My Way (no digital skills) and Make it Click (limited digital skills). Support includes Online basics to help learners get started with computers and the internet; inclusion in national Online Centre search facility; access to free training and tutor support resources; free packs of marketing material; and opportunity to apply for funding including devices dot now.
Learning lessons from the Wolves Online pilot, we are asking Trusted Partners to identify their target group and main rationale for accessing digital as this would influence the nature of device (chrome book or tablet) and volume of connectivity required.
If you are interested in becoming a Trusted Partner in the scheme, please complete the Expression of Interest below and return to Heather.Clark2@wolverhampton.gov.uk
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