A new digital programme with royal approval is helping people of all ages learn new digital skills. Called iDEA, the free programme is available for anyone living in the borough.
Aspiring to be the digital and enterprise equivalent of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, iDEA, backed this time by the Duke of York, is a free online programme aimed at all the family.
Wigan Council employees have had the unique opportunity to get involved, with sessions available across the organisation allowing staff to work through a series of online challenges in order to complete their bronze award and develop skills to help them succeed in an increasingly digital world.
Having received the 'Digital Council of the Year' award at the Local Government Chronicle Awards, Wigan Council are an organisation which recognise the importance of developing digital skills across the borough.
Over 50 apprentices within the council have been able to complete their full bronze iDEA award, and many are now keen to complete their silver and gold qualifications.
Many staff have said that they would be actively encouraging their children to get involved, with some even promoting the programme at community groups they are apart of.
Wigan resident Gill Barnes and her 12 year old daughter Josie have also been getting involved, learning a wide range of new digital skills.
"One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about iDEA is that we’ve been having a go at it together," says Gill.
“We tend to do a little bit most evenings. We work through the challenges on our phones, discuss the answers and see who’s right. Josie’s usually quicker than me, I’ll often still be reading out the question and she’ll have already posted the right answer!”
Josie and Gill are part way through their bronze award, which offers challenges ranging from entrepreneurial skills, to web design, to basic coding.
“There are loads of categories to choose from,” says Gill, “and you can work towards them in any order you like, there’s no pressure or time limits. It’s also sparked interesting discussions between us about subjects such as staying safe online.”
Gill is also hoping that the qualification will benefit both of them in the future.
“For Josie, I’m hoping it may help open doors for her when she comes to make choices about her career,” she adds.
“And it’s helping me to keep on top of what’s going on digitally, things change so quickly with technology so iDEA can help you keep up to date and stop you feeling like you’re being left behind.”