Kim started working with Positive People at the beginning of 2021. She lacked a lot of confidence, had little to no digital skills and needed support to move forward in her life.
Five months on, Kim has just left Positive People into work, a milestone that Kim, and everyone who has worked with her, are so proud of. Kim and her digital trainer, Chloe, sat down to talk through her experiences on the project, from her first steps with digital, to the opportunities she’s been table to access with her new confidence…
How would you describe the Kim we met in January 2021?
When I started in January I was petrified. Scared to death I was.
I didn’t know anything about computers, just literally how to turn it on, that was it. I didn’t know any of the words did I? I didn’t know what anything meant, I’d never heard of Zoom or Teams or anything. Erm, so really I was quite bad, at knowing it all.
I suppose you knew digital was something you needed to take on. Was there a necessity in your life to take on these skills?
Definitely, because I wanted to get back to work. Years ago, I never had all these CVs, and things like that, you could just go into a somewhere, have an interview…you didn’t have all this computer stuff, and now-a-days you’ve got to know it to be able to apply for jobs, and I didn’t know how to do that. I needed to know how to apply for a job on a computer, or a device, whatever people call them. You just need to know things don’t you, you just need to know, and I didn’t know, and that’s how you’ve helped me. I’ve learnt how to know things.
How did technology make you feel before we started working together?
Petrified I was, absolutely. I couldn’t use my phone properly. I had no idea how to send an email, I wouldn’t even give my email address out to anybody when they asked you for it. You need to communicate with the outside world because it’s there, it’s not going to come to you, you’ve got to go to other people.
You know, you’ve got to get off your backside and have a go at these things because no one is going to do it for you. I mean younger people seem to pick it up pretty quick, but it’s really hard for older people. Even the tele, the remote controls are scary. That’s how bad it was for me.
Now, I know where to look for jobs online. I know how to look in my area for what I want, and how to change what I want to look for. I’ve got my CV done, which is amazing because I didn’t think I had anything to put in a CV but I did. Yeah, it’s all good, it’s just, for want of a better word, all positive [laughs]. It is though isn’t it?
One little thing that you learn helps you to learn the next thing. It’s not all going to be learnt all at once, you need to do it step by step, little bit by little bit, so it’s not so scary then. But it is scary when you’ve got to turn the computer on, when you don’t even know what your cursor is, or what a browser is? I didn’t know any of that before.
And what has it allowed you to do? What things have you been able to take part in now that you’re able to get online and join in?
Well, now I turn my computer on every morning without fear, and check emails and things. What I do is, like sometimes you’ve got questions through the day? Now I write them down and I can Google things. Whereas before, I’d have to think “Oh, I don’t know that, I’ll never know that”. But now, you can know it, it’s just a little click of the button really, and you’re there.
So it opens up, I’m not going to say opportunities in the outside world, but it opens up opportunities from here, to see what’s going on in the outside world. It’s not like I’m going to go out and jump on a horse and things like that but it opens up loads of little things…. It’s really good. And job wise as well, it makes you think of other jobs that you could do.
But you’ve got to say yes before anything happens for you. If you don’t say yes, you know, I was petrified when someone asked me to do this stuff and I really didn’t want to do it but you’ve got to give yourself a little push. [Positive People] are not scary people, you’re only there to help us. It’s not like a teacher, you’re not cracking the whip. If it doesn’t sink in, it’s not sunk in. It’s no big deal is it? We’re not made to take it in, and that’s why it does go in a bit better I think, because it’s more relaxed, you’re not being drummed in to.
You’ve taken part in lots of other activities with Positive People, like Steps to Success, Cuppa Chat and Empowering Women, what impact has that made as well?
It’s had a massive impact, all of it. Every little bit helps. Because I was in such a bad place, I couldn’t talk to people, and especially in front of people on the computer, that’s so alien. And every little bit has helped and I can honestly say that I have enjoyed 90% of it. And the other 10% was just me being me. But yes, every bit has helped, the energy that Maxi has got, Rachael has been there to help me with things, Josh, who did my CV and phones up for a chat. Every bit helps. One door opens up if you say yes, another door will open up for you.
So what would be your advice for someone in the position that you were five months ago?
I’d say don’t be scared, don’t be scared to do it. It’s enjoyable and you’re learning, meeting people, building up your confidence, you don’t have to speak or be seen if you don’t want to be, so it’s nothing to be scared of. So do it. I’d say just do it. Just say yes.
It’s invaluable information isn’t it. I would have never been able to start work today if I hadn’t have had you lot behind me. I just wouldn’t have been able to do it. Not at all.