CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Case Study on Opportunities Room – Dundee Libraries

The following case study was provided by Dundee Central Library

The Opportunities project provides bespoke learning opportunities for digitally excluded citizens of Dundee. Library staff and volunteers offer employability and welfare reform support, drop-in digital assistance, targeted training sessions and access to new technologies in a non-threatening, positive environment. The digital skills that participants gain impact positively on the quality of their life and help to unlock new opportunities.

The project has provided over 6500 digital assistance sessions in the past year. There are no restriction on who can access the service and it is available to any member of the public who could benefit from the support provided.  The project has a focus on I.T. but there is also an understanding that often digital skills are only one of several barriers that an individual may face when applying for employment or welfare benefits. Partnerships have been developed with services and organisations such as adult learning, welfare rights and the Department of Work and Pensions who work alongside the Opportunities Project to provide specialist support and advice services to help address some of the barriers faced.

Feedback – customers

  • When Ewan lost his job in 2016, he was aware that he would require some support to apply for work as he felt his dyslexia and lack of I.T. skills may be a barrier. He was claiming job seekers allowance at this time and as a condition of receiving this benefit he had to job search using universal job match and was also required to record his job searching activity on the website. He was directed to the Opportunities Room for support and I.T. assistance and now feels more confident going online and using recruitment websites. Ewan recently started a new job which he applied for online and has said he feels the confidence and skills he gained through attending the Opportunities Project drop in was key in enabling him to successfully apply for his current job and securing employment.
  • “I found the instructor extremely helpful and they spoke in a language I could understand. I want to attend more tutoring of this kind”

Feedback – Library staff

“I find working in the Opportunities Room extremely rewarding and varied. We help a range of digitally excluded people to access new opportunities through improving their I.T. skills. From applying for a job online, booking a holiday, or learning to use your tablet, library staff and trained volunteers are on hand to provide support. There is a nice atmosphere in the department and our customers are always grateful for the assistance we provide”.