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Student volunteers at Swansea University have helped tenants prepare for universal credit

Students from Discovery Student Volunteering Swansea were recruited and trained by DCW to become digital volunteers. The students then worked with social landlord Gwalia to help digitally excluded residents to get online and prepare for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is a new benefit designed to support people who are on a low income (including employment) or out of work. It will replace six existing benefits and can only be accessed online. With universal credit being rolled out across the country, digital inclusion can be the difference between successful adoption and a potentially devastating impact on people.

The DCW Advisor in Swansea saw an opportunity to match up student volunteers who have digital skills with housing association tenants who are at risk because they are not online.

Discovery Student Volunteering Swansea (Discovery SVS) is a student-led charity based at Swansea University. It has over 300 members who help out at 27 projects across the city. Discovery SVS aims to enrich the lives of people in Swansea whilst providing new experiences and opportunities to students.

In partnership with Discovery SVS, DCW delivered an information session to students outlining the importance of digital inclusion, barriers to getting online and potential benefits. The session also highlighted the need to get people online because of the digital demands of universal credit.

Students who volunteered for the project were then trained so they could help people learn basic digital skills and get online. They were given specific training on how to help people find work online, and how to support someone with a universal credit application.

The students are now working with Gwalia to run digital sessions for tenants. These include working with small groups and helping people one-to-one.

Nine students became digital volunteers and gained new skills and confidence to help someone go online.

The students enjoyed the training and found it fun and informative. One said, “The opportunity to volunteer as a digital helper is a good way to learn new skills and gain experience that I could use when seeking employment after my degree.”

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“Working with DCW and Discovery SVS has enabled us to place volunteers who can focus on providing digital support with schemes for tenants who need it.”

Claire from Gwalia