How to prepare your event two weeks beforehand

Two weeks before your event it is worth going through all the aspects of your session to make sure everything has been covered. This will also give you time to make other arrangements if you have overlooked anything.   

You’ll need:

  • A venue and your team of helpers
  • Some time and kit to prepare handouts, sign-up sheets and badges and assess health and safety and access requirements.

Follow these step-by-step instructions to prepare your event two weeks beforehand:

Step 1: Arrange a meeting for the team.

This should include the host, computer tutors and technical helper so they are introduced to each other and ensure that they know their roles for the event. Make sure that all the computer tutors have looked at the Digital Unite Learning Guides and the various tasks (Steps 2 – 16) are allocated – even if it's only to yourself!

The computer tutors should also be familiar with the Activities to do at your Event page on the Digital Unite website, and in particular have tried out how they can help people enter the 2014 Prize Draw. That means your learner getting a chance to win £100 of high street vouchers and another £100 for the event organiser as well. If your helpers are new to this kind of event, print out this handy guide for them so that they know what to do. You can also edit it to include anything they specifically need to know, like your own contact details.

Step 2: Check Equipment.

The technical helper needs to check that the computers, tablets, the internet connection and any other equipment work properly.

Step 3: Manage CRB and Health and Safety checks

For a one-off event where helpers won’t be alone with the participants, there’s no need to be concerned about CRB checks. It is though a good idea for event holders to check their insurance. Make sure that you know the health and safety policies for the venue and the fire alarm procedures and fire exits If you are using a venue that is not normally used for events open to the public, make sure that there is Public Liability Insurance cover for an event such as this. (Ask the landlord to organise this; it should only take one phone call and may cost nothing).

Step 4:  Do a risk assessment.

This is a careful examination of what could cause harm to people at your event such as computer cables along the floor or boxes or bags left in the walkways. Doing a risk assessment will help you to avoid any health and safety incidents at your event. If you need to make a written risk assessment, you can use the sample one here. You could also visit the Health and Safety Executive’s website for guidance: http://www.hse.gov.uk/msd/risk.htm

Step 5: Make dummy e-mail accounts.

You won't have time to set up an account for someone and give a comprehensible experience of e-mail in a 50-60 minute taster session. So set up some web-based accounts beforehand if you want to offer an email experience. Set up an account for the visitors (e.g. SilverSurfermytown@gmail.com) and one for yourself, so you can let them experience sending and receiving messages.

Set up dummy accounts for any social networking sites you want to use. It is better to spend time showing people what they can get out of being online, than filling in lengthy registration forms. If you have your own account, you could use that, but remember people will see your personal details.

Step 6: Prepare sign-up sheets.

These will help if you have people waiting and can also give you a record of numbers; you will need to know this for when you are invited to respond to the event holders' questionnaire. A simple chart where you can mark out time-slots and leave space for names to be added will do. There is a sign-up sheet template here that you can edit to suit your own event, with a column for each computer or device that's being used. Put in your own headings (for example Workstation 1) and label the computers, too if you've got more than one on the go.

Step 7: Prepare a 'Where-to-go-next list'.

You don't have to supply anything very posh – it could just be a list on an A4 sheet. The list doesn't have to be very long, perhaps there is just the one computer course nearby but you do need to identify where people can go locally to learn more after their experience with you. There is a sample signposting template here which you should edit to include all your local options. Ideas to include: 

  • Digital Unite's free guides
  • Local Adult Education Courses, or courses at local colleges
  • Courses or drop-in facilities at local libraries
  • Online or distance learning courses, e.g. at www.newcurioshop.com
  • Local Digital Unite Tutors (look online or phone us free on 0800 228 9272) for people who can afford to pay for tuition
  • Internet cafes
  • Age UK
  • UK online centres
  • Learndirect centres
  • Outreach initiatives: some areas have trainings that are free-to end-user, e.g., UK online centres, council initiatives, Age Concerns and some sheltered housing schemes. Ask at the relevant head offices (via the internet)
  • For details of other local training initiatives, refer to Careers Advice Service on Freephone 0800 100 900    

Step 8: Print handouts

Don't forget to print/photocopy enough copies of the handouts for your learners all available here: they include free templates for media consent forms, signposting sheets, prize draw flyers, feedback forms and any other handouts you might have created or wish to use. You can also download individual Digital Unite guides. Use some or all of these depending on your printing/photocopying budget.

Practice beforehand editing and printing an attendance certificate for your learners as well. All these are in the Event holder Support section.

Step 9: Make rotas

If you have a number of people helping, it is useful to have a rota so that people can take breaks while others cover for them. If you are on your own, make sure you have a way of having a break.

Step 10: Make name badges

It is worth having name badges for everyone who is helping with the event. Name badges let visitors know who they are dealing with and show who is a helper rather than a visitor or member of staff not involved in your event.

Step 11: Organise signposting for the event

It is vital the signs to your event are clear and someone needs to make sure they are in large print, with large arrows. Balloons are also a good, fun way of signalling that something is happening. Tie them in bunches along the route and above each computer.

Step 12: Toilets

Make sure the toilets, if you have them, are well signposted.

Step 13: Chairs

Make sure you’ve got enough chairs: ideally three per computer so that a couple plus the computer tutor can all see the screen. If you're using tablets then you can be a bit more relaxed about the space.

Step 14: Access

Check that access is as good as you can make it.

Step 15: Refreshments

If you are providing refreshments, check the supplies and equipment are ready.

Step 16: the On the Day checklist

Print out your On the Day checklist so that you have it handy beforehand.

Read next:

Got a question or something to share? Discuss this and other topics on the Spring Online message board!