Jackie Barrie – Tatsfield

Below is a blog written by Jackie Barrie, our Digital Coach for Tatsfield,

Missed out on the ‘digital revolution’?

The world is changing faster than ever, especially online.

If you’ve been out of the workplace for a while due to raising a family or caring for parents, you might need to update your skills

  • Juliet is a qualified accountant who has been a stay-at-home mum for the past four years. She wants to start her own bookkeeping/accounting company or get a part-time job.
  • Karen sells candyfloss at weekends, and wants to learn how to promote her business on the Internet.
  • Amanda was a stockbroker before becoming a mum 16 years ago. She is RHS-qualified, and recently launched a small business selling hanging baskets. She needs to set up a website and use social media to expand her customer base.
  • Sarah is joining her husband in his new business venture, but neither of them have social media skills and she feels “completely out of touch”.
  • Lizzie has finished caring for children and parents, and is looking for a challenge to kickstart her career.

These are among the women who have applied to SurreyWISE (Women In the Superfast Economy) – a Government-funded project to train 100 women in Surrey to improve their digital skills so they can get a job, start a business or grow a business.

Fast facts from the Women’s Business Council

  • 2.4m women want to work, while 1.3m want to work longer hours
  • Women-led businesses represent only 20% of SMEs in the UK, up from 12% in 2010
  • 46.4% of women say “fear of failure” is a barrier to enterprise, compared with 40.5% of men
  • If women had the confidence and support to start businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an extra 1 million female entrepreneurs
  • Equalising the labour force could increase economic growth by 0.5% per year; a potential GDP gain of 10% by 2030

Minister for Women, Nicky Morgan, said: “As part of our long-term economic plan for Britain we are determined to do everything we can to support women startups. The fund will give women practical help to get online and take advantage of superfast broadband.”

Source: GEM2013 women’s report

What’s included

By participating in six two-hour workshops and a Facebook Group, attendees will learn how to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for business, as well as other digital tools. In addition, they can claim a free website from Youth Web Builders, a Derby company that awards level 2 qualifications to young people aged 16-24, funded by Digital Youth Academy.

The training is valued at £500 per head, and will be run by self-employed digital coaches in ten Surrey parishes:

  • Bletchingley: Wendy Ager
  • Claygate: Julie Leadbeater
  • Cranleigh: Liz Townsend
  • Farnham: Emma Selby
  • Haslemere: Suzanne Bellenger
  • Send: Nicky Kriel
  • Shalford and Sidlow: Fiona Stewart
  • Tatsfield: Jackie Barrie
  • Windlesham: Felicity Dwyer

SurreyWISE ends with a celebration event on 26 March at the Canon HQ in Reigate, where certificates and prizes will be awarded.

Who’s behind it

SurreyWISE is led by Penny Power OBE and her daughter Hannah, of Farnham-based Digital Business Britain. They received £75,000 funding from Surrey County Council as part of the £1m Women and Broadband Challenge Fund set up by the Equalities Office.

The Superfast Surrey programme is due to complete extending the fibre broadband network to virtually all Surrey communities by March 2015.


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