We’ve always been impressed with how committed housing sector staff are to their work, but we were blown away when one Tenant Participation Officer attended our second Digital Motivators Bootcamp in Inverness on the 9th and 10th September with a recently broken ankle – they were so keen to get their organisation’s digital participation activities progressing they didn’t want to miss it!
They were joined by 8 further fully committed Digital Motivators from Housing Organisations across the north of Scotland including Aberdeen, Caithness, Lochaber, Orkney and Highland who were keen to explore all things digital participation and plan activities to help their colleagues and tenants.
So, what is a Digital Motivator? Good question!
Our definition is – a person who can take a lead role in making their organisation more digitally confident, and support colleagues to become Digital Champions. We’ve found from previous digital participation activities that it’s important to have a key person – a Digital Motivator – who has an excellent grasp on what their customers need help with whilst being able to lead, influence, shape and flex within their organisation to help make digital participation part of that support offer.
With an estimated 1.17 million people living in social rented housing in Scotland who are 20% less likely to have the digital skills they need for life and work than people living in privately rented accommodation, creating Digital Motivators within the housing sector is an important step to addressing this social inequality.
Knowing we had the right type of Digital Motivator in the room, from Heads of Housing to Tenant Participation focussed roles, we focussed on building their knowledge and passion for digital participation and enhancing their ability to inspire others across their organisation to act. From the benefits to having essential digital skills, resources to help aid support, exploring local partnerships to leverage from and sharing case studies from other digital participation projects, there was lots to inspire across the 2 days.
The north Bootcamp’s inspiration was also aided by Libby Bligh from the Libertie Project who shared knowledge and expertise from the range of outreach digital participation activities they deliver. The key take-away was about focusing on the outcomes for people – financial stability, feeling more connected and confident, gaining skills and employment – rather than focusing on just the digital skills part. She even showed us how easy it was to sign up to Learn My Way and how this could be a quick win for so many front-line housing staff supporting tenants.
Since heading back into their organisations, the Digital Motivators have been quick to start getting their digital participation plans into action. Seeking endorsement and funding, recruiting colleagues with great people skills who we will help to train up to become Digital Champions and putting practical arrangements in place for access to WIFI and devices, including a lending library for tenants are just some examples.
We’re excited to see where this commitment to their Digital Motivators role and digital participation takes their organisations and tenants!