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Capgemini employees pledge to share vital digital skills to help families, friends and local communities

Sally Caughey
30 May 2022

Technology should be an opportunity for everyone. Our Inspire programme, created with social enterprise Digital Unite, helps those at risk of being excluded from everyday activities by equipping them with the digital skills needed for life and work.

In the UK, there are 11 million adults who lack the digital skills needed for everyday life, such as accessing the internet. A further 11.8 million adults lack the digital skills needed for work. As more services such as healthcare, housing, banking, job applications, shopping and education shift online, it’s critical that everyone can access these.

Equipping employees to share digital skills

During the Covid-19 pandemic, my team recognised an increased reliance on friends and family for technology assistance while libraries and community support centres were closed. We looked to our UK employee volunteers to develop a model to meet this new need.

Our response was to create the Inspire training programme. The initiative assists Capgemini employees to become ‘Digital Champions’ – and Inspire is a blueprint that any business can use to share skills with their local communities. Together with Digital Unite, we developed the model, piloted it from August 2020, and rolled out Inspire across Capgemini UK from January 2021.

Inspire trains employees on how to teach digital skills. Capgemini employees, for example, have advanced technology skills but can lack knowledge and confidence on how best to share these with their families, friends and local communities. To change this, employees attend a session to learn about digital exclusion, complete training on how to share skills via an e-learning module and are encouraged to make a pledge to help others.

Sharing digital skills with our local communities

More than 430 Capgemini UK employees have made a pledge to share digital skills within their communities since August 2020. We’re now starting to hear about the impact of these pledges. I caught up with some of those who have taken part to hear how they shared digital skills…

Enabling mum to help her friends with technology

My pledge was to support my mum. We lost my dad last year and he did most of the ‘online’ things for them such as banking, paying bills and managing subscriptions. Mum was petrified of having her identity or money stolen while online. It was fear of the unknown. I worked with mum to ensure she felt confident checking and paying bills, moving money around from her bank account, and connecting with other family members online. Mum is now a digital champion herself. She has her friends over and they all help each other learn technology skills.

James Bennett, Engagement Manager

Assisting my niece’s studies

I helped my 12-year-old niece. She started secondary school in lockdown. I knew she would need help with her digital skills, and her mum was busy adjusting to the pandemic. I began helping my niece for two evenings per week. We chose a suitable laptop, and then worked on how to join online lessons, using MS Teams, sending messages to her teachers, using email, and navigating the websites she has to use to do her homework. She picked everything up really quickly.

Sam Smith, SAP Functional Consultant

Growing my friend’s business through digital marketing

I helped my friend by giving him the confidence and knowledge to advertise his construction business online as the pandemic affected his work. I assisted him to set up online pages so that he now gains exposure across London, rather than only in his local neighbourhood. This helped him increase his bookings; this and his amazing stone laying skills!

Szilard Vincze, Consultant, Capgemini Invent

Improving my dad’s digital skills for work

The Inspire course helped me understand the importance of good digital skills for everyone. The pledge was a good way to make what I was already doing official. My Dad is an auditor and during the Covid-19 pandemic, he had to do much of his work online, including setting up spreadsheets and doing auto-calculations. As he has not been exposed to computer technology in the same way I have, he needed help. I passed on what I have learnt at Capgemini. He can do his work better and more easily now, and his Excel skills will help with qualifications that he’s doing. It is very rewarding to see the difference my help has made.

– Jamie Gilbart, Application Consultant

Supporting mum to shop online

My pledge was to help my mum shop safely and confidently online. We used to go shopping together in person, but when the Covid-19 pandemic started, we couldn’t do this anymore. I helped my mum learn how to take screenshots of the items that she wanted to buy, and then each Saturday we’d sit down together and I’d support her to feel confident in entering her address and billing details correctly. My mum didn’t have a bank card before the pandemic, so learning how to use a bank card online was a new concept. It made a massive difference – she loved the postman coming regularly to our house. It made the lockdown a much more pleasant experience for her.

Maria Fairbank-Azcarate, Senior Consultant

I’m truly impressed by all of the different pledges that the Capgemini team are undertaking. As a strategic technology partner that helps companies transform their businesses, we feel a strong social responsibility to ensure no one in society is left behind as more services switch to digital automation.

Our Inspire programme is one of the ways our people can reach out directly to their local communities and, by helping others solve their everyday challenges, they are also building their own understanding of the issues to consider when designing inclusive and accessible technology solutions. I look forward to watching the continued work of Inspire participants towards a future where everyone can benefit from technology.