Digital Unite’s Digital Champions Network took the Runner Up spot in the Digital Inclusion and Skills category at the NextGen Digital Challenge Awards in London on Thursday 5 November 2015.

This is the 5th year for the Digital Challenge Awards programme that recognises great projects and teams who are striving to deliver online success.

Digital Unite was named as second-place Finalist for the Digital Inclusion and Skills Award for their Digital Champions Network (DCN), beating six other nominations with Northumberland County Council winning overall.

The DCN was launched in September 2013 and is an online platform that has helped over 20 member organisations across the UK train and support more than 1,000 Digital Champions. This unique online platform provides structured and self-study e-learning on how to help and inspire new learners to get and stay online. The courses define a skills set for a Digital Champion including personal digital skills and those critical people skills, which, together make up the profile of a successful Digital Champion. Complete with practical exercises and other interactive resources, the courses cover how to create and maintain learner interest, helping beginners with managing personal finance online and searching and applying for jobs.

Each successful course completion leads to a Mozilla Open Badge, the emerging online approach to professional verification. Open Badges are shareable and transferable and Digital Champions can use them on CVs and on LinkedIn as a recognition of the skills and aptitudes they have gained via the Network. A friendly, moderated Digital Champion community forum offers daily support to share learnings and experiences and access to 44 downloadable resources and 400 online guides provides the essential teaching toolkit.

Furthermore the DCN also supports Digital Champions with a Rewards scheme that equips them with essential mobile kit and connectivity. Since January this year over 110 free tablets, laptops and computers have been given to Digital Champions to help further cement their engagement and support with their local communities

The Network also collects consistent data which provides benchmarks and analyses so individual organisations and the Network can gain invaluable information about performance, champion and end learner behaviours. It exposes gaps and suggests modifications so each organisation’s Digital Champion programme can be continually reviewed and refined to achieve success against business objectives.

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