BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation. I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any terms which might be ambiguous, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me. Lastly, you'll find typos here, although I do my best to correct them. There are reasons for this, which you'll discover as you read.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

IT Skills Course

I was up at the Trafalgar school again yesterday, for another session. Four people turned up - I don't know what the charity's expectations are, but that doesn't seem like many to me. Our village has about 5,000 inhabitants.

As I see it, possible reasons for this are:

(i) that there is no interest in the sbject matter.

I find this quite difficult to believe, since some people have travelled quite some distance - from our local city (Salisbury) and beyond.

(ii) that our village lies in the back of beyoud

This is obviously possible, since we do! A few people on the course have actually come looking for it, so maybe there jst aren't the people locally to generate the numbers for the course?

(iii) location

We're in a school which has quite an impressive computer room. There are lots of PCs there, all running Windows 10. The school is friendly and, as I say, quite well-equipped, I can totally understand why you'd want such an environment to prepare students for the outside world, but possibly our target audience has different needs? Unfortunately, I missed the first session, but I did suggest that it should cover things even more basic than computers, such as plugging a router into a phone socket, and getting an internet connection in the first place. One guy is a lovely chap in real life, but if you put him in his home environment, gave him a computer, and told him to go to such-and-such a site, probably wouldn't have a clue. But I've also heard a couple of people say that their internet (which they obviously have already) was set up by their children. Of course, I have no idea whether these people would *want* to find out about how the connection works, or whether the fact that it just exists is enogh for them.

(iv) changes in the session times

we (the volunteers) ourselves were a little confused, because whilst most of the sessions were on a Wednesday, there were a couple of sessions on a Thursday. I can't imagine that this is at all fatal, and certainly a phone call to the Age UK office would clarify things, but by the same token, everything was more complicated than it needed to be.

(v) rubbish tuition!

Of course, it's not a particularly pleasant thought for me, but it has to be there as an option. And I'm aware that the students are taking the lead role as tutors here, but personally, I'm more than happy to jump in and get my hands dirty. And I don't know if it's accurate but I have an impression that some of the attendees prefer talking to a 50yo than a 12yo. But by the same token, I am new to this type of work and could well be wrong.

I think it will be interesting if we ever sit down to discuss how we might have achieved things better. I watched a DR (disaster recovery) test at one client fail miserably, then be proclaimed a success by some middle-manager, dare I be so cynical as to think this could happen in a charity too?

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