Job Centre Plus
Digital Up-Skilling Timeline
Building Capacity in Digital Technology
(Web Building for Beginners)
self-employed individuals haven’t received any digital skills training through work.
Digital engagement is a crucial tool and skill for any business/start-up. The current pandemic has highlighted this need to up-skill and get more businesses online. Despite these pressures to get online, Lloyds’ UK Consumer Digital Index found that 69% (3.45 million) of self-employed individuals have not received any digital training through their employment. According to FSB, small businesses (0-49 employees/self-employed) are integral to the economy and employ 61% of the market, yet it would appear that they are one of the largest demographics to not receive any digital training.
PODTech Network CIC is a community interest company that teaches core digital business skills to motivate clients to get their businesses online. Through collaboration with the Job Centre Plus, PODTech can support Universal Credit claimants to bring their business online. The same is also true for those thinking of starting a business. This is primarily achieved through teaching practical skills and increasing clients’ digital capacity through building and maintaining a professional business website. The seemingly simple act of getting a business online can encourage clients to make meaningful steps to secure a stable income through their own entrepreneurship.
PODTech’s digital up-skilling programme Web Building for Beginners has been successfully rolled out online and is currently supporting vulnerable clients both domestic and internationally. Through collaboration with the Job Centre Plus Oxford, PODTech can upscale our support and move to a blended approach of online and face-to-face training to positively impact our local community and build greater digital capacity in the Oxfordshire area.
Link source: Lloyds Consumer Report
Web Building for Beginners
Throughout this course, clients can begin to engage in digital business activities to build a professional-looking WordPress website. This creates a tangible business asset that will solidify their online presence and also give clients the confidence to begin their self-employed journey.
The Web Building for Beginners pathway is designed to increase confidence and build greater capacity in digital technology and reduce dependancy on Universal Credit support.
The course consists of a group webinar and two days face-to-face training. Hosting will be included for the duration of the course to assist students in building their website on a real server.
Job Centre Referral
Self-employed, or those who are thinking of becoming self-employed, and currently claiming Universal Credit are referred to PODTech.
PODTech initiates an onboarding call with the client to make sure the course suits their needs. Here we can discuss availability, equipment (if applicable) and talk about any specific needs or requirements the client may have.
Part 1 of 2
Website Back Office
Day 1 of the course is a face-to-face group session with a PODTrainer with one-to-one support available where required. Clients have access to a self led e-course which includes written content, screenshots and videos. The first half of the day guides clients through the process of how to install and optimise all the software needed to build a website and how to troubleshoot any problems or software conflicts. This work is built on a commercial server (PODTech Student+ Hosting) giving clients the chance to see their designs online from any device. Clients work through the course with a PODTrainer on hand to support and assist 1-to-1 on their build.
Website Front-End Design
The second half of Day 1 consists of clients moving into front-end design. Clients follow video tutorials and content guiding them through the process of designing and building a website example. This is an integral step to understanding how page builders operate and experience the software’s limitations.
Part 2 of 2
After completing Day 1, clients go home with a fully functional website with a template front-end example designed. Clients are set an assignment to research competitors’ websites and identify elements they can incorporate into a final design. Clients are required to sketch designs down onto paper using the skills highlighted in Day 1 and bring this work to the next session. This task can also be achieved on Day 2 if the client finds the task challenging to do at home.
Website Front-End Design
Day 2 of the course begins with a face-to-face group session with a PODTech trainer present to lead the group and offer one-to-one support. Clients undertake a short group exercise were they present their own mock-up drawings (Figure 1). After this exercise is complete, clients are then required to draw over these designs with ‘scaffolding’, to break the designs down into the three core elements of web building covered in Day 1 (Figure 2). Finally, clients begin designing the website using their own designs and optimise it for mobile and tablet.
Part 2 of 2
Graduation and Support
After successfully demonstrating proficiency in WordPress, clients graduate from the course. Clients then receive a certificate of achievement and be requested to join the PODTech Network Facebook group where ongoing support is given. This is group can also be used to skill-swap and softly network with other students.Graduates have the option of continuing to use PODTech’s Student+ contract free hosting plan.