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Go ON Manchester Diary (17th – 18th October)

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Thursday 17th October

October Due to Kim having to attend college as part of her apprenticeship, I am volunteering at the go ON campaign alone for the next two weeks.

Job Club was on again, so as no one was at the centre specifically for the go ON campaign, I helped people apply for jobs. Firstly Tom*, a man I helped in my first session at the White Moss centre required so assistance. Steven had no IT skills in the first week, however after just 2 sessions, he was working the computer alone, with only slight assistance.

I also helped Sarah* and John* apply for jobs, Sarah was looking for jobs in the food preparation industry as she had taken a food safety course a few years ago. We completed an application form for Burger King, and hopefully she will get an interview. She had fairly good IT skills, having attended the job club several times. John was looking for jobs in the warehouse industry. We set him up an account on the job search websites, as it was his first time at the session. Unfortunately he didn’t have a CV electronically, so couldn’t complete any application forms, however, I taught him how to save the jobs for later so that he can apply for them when he has his CV ready.

At 11 O’clock, a man called Michael* walked into the centre for assistance with computers. He had recently bought a laptop, which he had no idea how to use, and had been told about the go ON campaign by his friend. He had no IT skills at all, so we began by learning how to switch on a computer, log on, and find Microsoft Word. He struggled with the mouse initially, wanting to press the centre button rather than the left hand button. However after about 10 minutes he grasped it. We practiced typing his name, changing the font size and colour, and making sure capitals were at the beginning of the name. Michael was happy with the little progress that we made, and said he would return tomorrow for more help – hopefully to get onto the internet.

Friday 18th October

I was greeted by 2 people wanting assistance from me, which was a nice surprise considering we’ve only had one person come through the door for the go ON each session. There was a retired lady who wanted to refresh her computer skills, as she hadn’t used one in 22 years! We started off on the home screen, and she re-gained her mouse skills. We then went onto google and searched for holidays, as she wanted to get the best deals possible for a winter get-a-way. After using several price comparison websites, we discovered a great deal, and she was amazed at how easy it can be to book a holiday online!

At the same time, I was trying to help Mike from yesterday. Having discovered the internet, he was keen to just have a play around, using google. He spent the full two hours of the session looking at London tourist websites, researching concerts and shows, and also looking at the Hamley’s website where he discovered online shopping. His computing skills are still lacking, however I believe through trial and error he’ll become a whizz soon and be able to use his personal laptop, or use the computers in the local library to do any research he wants.

Another lady, Jane* turned up at about 11o’Clock. She had never used a computer before, and really wanted to gain basic skills to enable her to do online shopping. We started off by using the mouse on the home screen. She really struggled with the sensitivity of the mouse, and found it moved much quicker than she expected. However after 5 minutes of using it, she had the knack. We then moved on to clicking on the programs. This was an even tougher task, as she found her hand slipped when she pressed the key, causing her to highlight a chunk of text, rather than clicking on an icon. This was a recurring problem for most of the session. However I realized that by encouraging her to take her entire hand off the mouse before clicking, meant that she didn’t drag the mouse when she clicked with her index finger. We went onto several large department store sites including Debenhams and Marks and Spencers, which she was keen to explore. She commented that she often goes into shops such as Marks and Spencer’s looking for items she had seen in a magazine, however the shop assistants always tell her to visit the website (which she couldn’t do due to her lack of IT skills). She was amazed at how easy online shopping is, and was keen to get home to encourage her daughters to let her use their computers!

Today was a great session, and I’m excited for next weeks session, where I’ll hopefully see some of the people from today!