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Case Study

Camden Council learners excel in Essential Digital Skills Qualification

OCN London were recently delighted to hear from one of our centres, Camden Council’s Adult Community Learning (ACL) service, about the resounding success of their Essential Digital Skills Qualifications (ESDQs) programme, accredited by us.

In 2022, 40 adult learners, including 27 Camden Council staff, have successfully completed the course, which aims to educate those with no or low digital skills and give them an up-to-date qualification that reflects the constantly changing digital landscape, including increasing their skills across a range of applications along with learning about working safely online.

Many of the employees who enrolled in the part-time course, which was provided either face-to-face over a six-month period or online for three to four months, often work in front-line positions where they do not frequently use computers but where developing their digital skills will help them in their career progression (this describes the majority of learners but not all).

The training was delivered to learners from a variety of Council departments, from cleaning supervisors to early years practitioners and many of those who have completed the ESDQ have already progressed to a Level 1 qualification, with some even being signposted to the local college to undertake a Level 2.

One of the learners, Thomas Kearns, Community Library Officer said that while using public access terminals, library patrons frequently approached him for assistance. He said “We are approached by people doing important things in their lives online, such as looking for jobs or applying for universal credit. People look up to us as all-knowing. Doing this course has revitalised what I have been doing and rebooted my career.”

Another learner, Anne-Marie Wright, who is an Advice and Assessment Officer in Adult Social Care, said: “This training has enhanced what I was doing as part of my role and helped me to be more efficient.”

In addressing the group of learners, ACL tutor Tracey Hamilton told them: “It was a pleasure seeing your learning progress and how it has helped you in your work.”

The group also attended an event earlier this month to receive their EDSQ certificates from James Drummond, Digital Inclusion Programme Manager at Camden Council.

James was delighted that the programme, had so much interest after being offered out as a voluntary course to staff and Camden residents alike. He said “During the pandemic, a lot of our team became remote workers overnight and we had a massive task to get everyone issued with laptops and working effectively from their homes. Due to this, we uncovered some substantial skills gaps in our workforce in terms of digital capability and the ESDQ programme is perfect for those needing to learn new skills, but also those who need to refresh their knowledge and increase their confidence with technology.”

James was fully supported by the team at OCN London to get the programme up and running and said “From our initial enquiry, OCN London have been extremely responsive and answered all of our questions quickly. Pam Martin (Centre Approval Co-ordinator) and Simon Endacott (Head of Business Support) made sure we had everything we needed and always got back to us with answers within 24 hours, sometimes immediately. Our Curriculum Relationship Development Manager, Amarjit Dhanjal, explained everything clearly about the delivery of the qualification, the approval process and made sure we had the right papers. We even had an issue with certificates during the recent postal strike and just before the presentation, Simon reprinted the certificates for us and we went over to their offices in North London to pick them up.

Its great working with a smaller, local awarding body who really do go above and beyond what we would expect. The entire process was made so easy by the support and speedy responsiveness of the OCN London team.”

Essential Digital Skills Qualifications were launched nationally by the Government in 2020 to help combat digital exclusion and are offered at Entry 3 and Level 1 by OCN London.

If you want to find out more about the ESDQ suite or any of OCN London’s qualifications portfolio, please get in touch at enquiries@ocnlondon.org.uk.

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