Edinburgh Local

Digital Ambassador project

Since 2016 The Digital Ambassador project has been helping to improve digital literacy amongst people in the community.

Digital literacy classes are available for the elderly
Digital literacy classes are available for the elderly

As we see everyday tasks like shopping, banking and paying bills move to online platforms, digital literacy is becoming an increasingly necessary life skill.

The University of Edinburgh runs a programme to support local people to gain digital skills so they can use the internet and other technologies with confidence. The Digital Ambassadors programme trains student volunteers to teach these skills through weekly drop-in sessions at Central Library and through classes at the Charteris Centre in the Pleasance.

Expanding 

The programme has expanded each year with 20-25 regular volunteers and three different groups typically available, including an elderly persons group and one for local BAME women hoping to return to work with the AMINA Muslim Women’s Resource Centre.

The volunteers also provide Friday afternoon drop-in sessions during term-time at the city’s Central Library on George IV Bridge. In 2019, these will run from on Fridays, 2-4pm, from 27th September to 13th December in the Mezzanine floor of Central library.

Benefitting the community

An evaluation of the project found that the people who attended the sessions felt their ability to use technology increased and their basic digital skills improved. Participants felt most confident using tools such Google, email, social media and online shopping. They also enjoyed talking through their queries one-to-one with patient and knowledgeable volunteers.

Student and staff volunteers benefit from the project, gaining skills in teaching, communication and leadership.

Our work has even been recognised with a nomination for a prestigious Green Gown Award, a scheme which highlights the higher education's best examples of Sustainability.

It’s great to see the programme helping more people obtain basic digital skills. The classes are popular because they are wide-ranging and cater flexibly to the differing needs of the individuals. Our student volunteers are truly amazing and we hope to see even more volunteer and user take-up in the upcoming sessions.

Sarah Anderson, Community Engagement Manager and Digital Ambassadors Co-ordinator