People Hub Break Down Tech Barriers with Launch of VR and Digital Skills Training

Cornwall-based employment and training project, The People Hub, are launching an interactive virtual-reality experience and digital skills course to combat digital illiteracy.

This summer People Hub are travelling around Cornwall inviting local people to try their state-of-the-art VR experience. This ties into their new ‘Get Connected’ digital skills course, where attendees will be given the opportunity to take home their own free tablet after completing the course. With a focus on giving people confidence and a strong online skill set, the innovative virtual reality experience will give people the chance to push themselves to complete virtual tasks that they might not have felt able to do before.

The VR experience gets people walking and balancing on a plank high above a cityscape with support from the People Hub team. Taking steps with new experiences gives people a sense of accomplishment and surprise at their own abilities, coupled with satisfaction of taking control of a piece of technology that they might otherwise have avoided due to anxiety when operating technology.

Digital literacy is now as important as reading and writing, with many aspects of daily life involving an understanding of smartphones, tablets and computers. In 2018, an estimated 5.3 million adults – 10% of the UK adult population – were defined as ‘non-internet users’, meaning people who use the internet less than once every three months, or have never used it at all. In the UK’s 2021 Digital Divide report, it was discovered that almost one in four people from low-income households did not feel confident using a search engine to access government services, and that two thirds of jobseekers at the time of the report felt that they would benefit from digital skills training, illustrating that digital literacy has a direct impact on employability.

Photo source: People Hub

Coinciding with their virtual reality experience, and partnering with local JobCentres, People Hub are also launching their five-day, fully funded Get Connected digital skills course. Attendees will be guided by People Hub’s Connectors to gain useful, transferable skills online using a tablet. Participants will receive their own free tablet at the end of the course. The course utilises hybrid learning and covers topics such as digital basics, online safety, communicating effectively online, completing online application forms, and using the best job search tools available.

People Hub is aiming to attract people to the Get Connected course who might be nervous using technology, particularly when searching for jobs, and hope that with People Hub’s support they will be able to build their confidence alongside their digital skills. Almost all job adverts and applications are now online, so the course empowers people to take control of their online activities whilst learning new and beneficial skills that give them far greater opportunities in finding meaningful employment.

People Hub Manager Josh Hoole said: “We’re incredibly excited about our new VR experience and look forward to seeing local people engage with it and giving themselves that little nudge to try something new. We’re also really keen to get local people involved with our Get Connected course, not just because we’re offering a free tablet, but also because we know how overwhelming it can be applying to or searching for jobs when you don’t have that confidence online. The course is a really positive step for people’s digital skills development, and in helping them find a job that they might have felt was out of reach for them before. We have total confidence that by attending Get Connected and our VR experience, it’ll give people that boost they’ve been looking for to level up their abilities.”