Making a difference: Mhairi’s story
We run a variety of projects at ACE IT, including our Work Wise course which helps provide over 50s with the digital skills to return to work. One of our recent learners, Mhairi Curran, spoke to us about her experience on the course and what she learned.
Mhairi has been out of work due to her health and has been volunteering in the meantime. She was part of the last cohort of Work Wise learners in October this year.
“The aim was to try get some better skills to allow me to go back to work,” she said. “Although I want to do activity work, there’s so many of them now saying that you need to have social media, which I don’t do. And that you need to be able to work with certain programs. Things like Excel, and I’ve never done Excel.”
“So I came along, did some stuff, we did a wee bit on how to format CVs. We did spreadsheets, which again I’d never done, I usually work on Word for most things. Then the last week, we looked at PowerPoint. Although I knew the basics of PowerPoint, I didn’t know how much you could actually use PowerPoint for!”
Mhairi found Work Wise accessible and flexible, and better than other computer courses she’d done in the past. She said: “I’ve done courses before where they’ve given you a workbook and you’ve gone through it, and they’ve gone at the end of it, well that’s you, you know that now. And it’s like yeah, but where’s that going to take me next? You’ve literally left the room and that’s it, that’s the end of it.”
She found ACE IT particularly helpful, especially with the potential to come back and get more help.
“It’s good if you can find something that encourages you to go back, it doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re inadequate, and a lot of things do,” she commented.
Her confidence has also improved as a result of Work Wise. She said: “The tutor I had said I knew more than I thought I did, which was encouraging. I think part of my problem with computer stuff is I don’t really always understand computer language, so it’s the steps and stages, and it’s what category you go into to find something. Is it on the toolbar, is it hidden somewhere else, it’s all that kind of stuff that muddles me. And then when something doesn’t work, I usually think, well that’s just me. It’s me that’s done something wrong, and my tutor said no it’s not always you, because it’s different programs and different things. It has given me more confidence that it isn’t always me that’s wrong. And to persevere – if it’s not working one way, try it another – don’t just give up.”
Want to help people like Mhairi improve their computer skills for work? Find out more about becoming a volunteer here!