I’m Sha Jenkins. My day job is Personal Assistant to a Senior Manager and I’m also a volunteer HMRC Digital Ambassador (DA).
Digital Ambassadors are just normal staff with an appetite for digital, not geeky I hope, just interested. We’ve volunteered to help other people in our offices who don’t have the digital confidence we do and maybe just need someone to sit with them for a few minutes to talk through something they’re concerned about.
We've introduced DAs like me because HMRC are committed to improving services and the experience for our customers, for example by introducing the online Personal Tax Account and Business Tax account. To support these changes we’re modernising our own digital tools and technology internally across HMRC. For some of our people this has generated much excitement and positivity. But for others the move towards a more digital environment seems daunting and presents a challenge.
So we’ve created a Digital Skills and Capabilities Programme (DSCP) to introduce a number of initiatives to help HMRC people gain confidence and improve their digital skills. Digital Ambassadors is just one.
In my office, I and fellow Digital Ambassador Mike Underwood talk regularly with our colleagues under the banner ‘Let's Talk Digital’. The help we offer doesn’t have to be work-specific, it could be something like how to search Google, how to use OneNote or explain the differences they can expect when their computer is upgraded to Windows 10.
We’re enjoying helping them upskill digitally and seeing the progress they make. In fact I love it so much I’ve even found myself helping people outside work; telling them to pop over to their local library to try out Digital Drop Ins and sessions on Introduction to Tablets, Learn at Home and Computer help.
The feedback we’ve got has been really positive. Even people who thought they were digitally knowledgeable and savvy have said Digital Ambassadors have helped them. Others have said they don’t know how they would survive without an Ambassador in their office.
It’s almost a year since the first Digital Ambassadors were trained and started supporting colleagues and we’ve now got almost 650 volunteers working across the department. The plan is to have 1,000 by February 2017.
DAs are just one part of a much bigger plan. The Digital Skills and Capabilities Programme has introduced:
- a Skills Assessment Tool to assess digital capability, identify skills gaps and signpost to digital learning packages
- a Digital Talent Programme secondment scheme for people to work in a digital role for 6 months then take back new skills to help meet their own area’s evolving digital needs
- regular consultations with all HMRC professions to see that digital is embedded in career and training pathways
DSCP have also joined forces with the team who deliver new internal digital tools to form a new Internal Digital Programme. Their aim is to make sure all staff have the right tools, skills and confidence to do their jobs; so that technology just works to the point that it’s almost invisible.
Being a Digital Ambassador has taught me that you can help people in all walks of life, at every opportunity and that one step, no matter how small, is really just the beginning of our digital journey for us all. I can certainly see the benefit first hand when I help my colleagues and I’m confident this move will help us meet our aspiration and change HMRC’s digital culture.
Let’s Talk Digital!