Small business working to connect people in the West Midlands

Logos of HLSM and the ESF

This project is part-funded by the European Social Fund.

Digikick, a community interest company born in 2017, are working to support people in the West Midlands with getting online safely and accessing the digital services they need.

Posted 15 December 2022

Animated image of people communicating and utilising online technology.

Getting people online

The company run friendly internet projects all designed to help people get online safely, enabling them to contact family and friends, access support and re-join their community.

Since the pandemic, the rise of digital services has meant that those unable to access or use the internet often feel alienated and unable to access the support they need.

“Around one in five people can’t use the internet, leaving them feeling excluded,” says Sair Reading, Director at Digikick.

As noted by Digikick, the support and education people need to access is lacking in this area. Although there are community groups designed to help, most are not equipped or are unable to access the funding needed, resulting in further frustration.

Another important issue facing communities today is digital poverty, something that Digikick are also very much aware of as another barrier for people to access the internet and other digital services.

As more companies, services and people move online, the more difficult and isolating it becomes for those unable to move at the same pace.

The work Digikick has been conducted has, so far, enabled around 1,000 people to connect.

Developing for the future

The company has recently developed an online training platform called DigiQuick, which has been designed to host a range of accessible online training videos for community organisations.  

The platform will provide organisations with the IT training to help them get online safely, as well as the practical skills they can use in their own everyday work.

Each training video is no more than 20 minutes and has both a teacher and learner going through the topic. The team have worked to assess likely questions that may come up in order to anticipate the needs of those tuned in to learn.

Topics you can find on DigiQuick include:

  •         Tracking grant spending
  •         Tracking participant demographics
  •         Social media marketing

Learning from their own experience and understanding the time commitment usually needed, the team worked to put together bitesize training clips that individuals can choose at their own pace and complete in their own time.

With fresh talent comes new ideas

As highlighted by Sair, they are “running a company of the future, which means there is no specific training for what we do.

"It’s difficult to market a job that has not been done before, and with the economy the way that it is, people aren’t ready to take risks on jobs they aren’t sure about.”

Through working with Higher Level Skills Match (HLSM) – part-funded by the European Social Fund - the team were able to recruit a student part-time to help fill skills gaps within the business.

The successful student was able to support them with understanding the needs of individuals and use this knowledge to put together different training to assist various members of the team.

Reflecting on the student’s time working with the company, Sair fed back that “her approach to her work was as enthusiastic as her approach to her university course and learning. She was an asset to the company and a valuable member of the team.”

Discussing their journey with HLSM, Sair says, “We have been working with Newman University, Birmingham (one of the HLSM partners) for over three years and we are an organisation that supports students where we can with advice, knowledge, guidance and jobs when available.

“We have worked closely with Ian Fellows (Academic and HLSM Account Manager at Newman University), who has been awesome in everything, and have received some great support from HLSM in return.”

Digikick is one of many businesses that have benefitted from HLSM's support.

For example, HLSM have worked closely with City of Birmingham Hockey Club in order to improve their use of social media. 

Find out more about Digikick by visiting their website.