Three’s Discovery programme – a scheme designed to improve tech literacy in the UK, celebrated its first birthday by announcing that over 10,000 have attended their free sessions.
The Discovery programme sees Three store staff at 134 stores partner with organisations such as NHS Camarthenshire, Age UK Islington, Islington Council, Communities First, Enterprise Cub and Strive in order to provide free training on mobile technology issues including online safety, cloud storage, mobile photography, web searching and CV writing.
Three also built dedicated training centres attached to stores in Islington and Swansea.
Manager of the Three Islington Discover Centre Lee Greenhalge described to Mobile how the scheme helps the local community stating, ‘As we’ve grown throughout the year we’ve really been able to expand our reach, for instance we now help small business owners, especially around social media. We do a lot of kids groups and we’re beginning to work with the local councils on schools as well.’
Describing his favourite aspect of the centre, he added, ‘My favourite element is working with some of the small businesses, we work with local charity Strive who are helping people start their first businesses in housing associations. We give them support. You get people who are deeply passionate for a specific thing, but didn’t ever expect to be running a business around it, so we train them on how to build an online presence that can make a big difference for them. It makes a contribution to the local area as well as giving them the skills they need to do well with their businesses.’
Asked what running the centre taught him, Greenhalge told Mobile, ‘We have a catch phrase here, “you know what you know” and I think myself, Rick and Allan – the three of us here in the Discovery team, we definitely don’t know everything because we’re dealing with everything from social media to operating systems, it all changes so frequently so we are always learning. The biggest skill I’ve learnt is around having the patience to let people learn and make mistakes while encouraging them. I think that’s the best way to help people learn technology.’
According to the centre manager, the lessons learnt can be applied throughout mobile retail. Explaining one of these points, he said, ‘The best advice is to always let the customer do it. Don’t fix things for them, let them have a go and be there to support them. We are in a society where everyone wants to do everything so quickly, and specifically with customer service people just want to do it and move on to the next customer, but actually people learn a lot better if you are patient with them and give them the opportunity and support to do things themselves.
Three UK retail director Paula Cave also commented on the scheme, ‘Digital skills are pivotal to improving the everyday life of local communities. Having helped over 10,000 people in the last year, we will continue to roll out sessions across the UK to bridge the digital gap, getting more people online and making the most of their mobiles and tablets.’