North Wales Health Digital Skills Programme Launch

A unique memorandum of understanding has been signed, with Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and Digital Communities Wales committing to working with the UNISON and health workers to design and run new digital skills courses and workshops.  

The public service trade union UNISON is working with workers and local health bosses on an initiative to find new ways of helping workers get the digital skills they need for the future. The initiative is being developed in partnership with the Welsh Government’s digital inclusion programme.

Staff in the Estates & Facilities Directorate such as hospital cleaners, porters and maintenance workers will be helped to take part in the digitisation of their workplaces. New Union Learning Reps (ULRs) and workplace Digital Champions will be recruited to support their colleagues who need help with computers and the internet.

The new “Digital Skills Training Programme” will see the staff consulted about what skills they need and how they want to learn, and then they will be invited to learning opportunities that will build their confidence. The partners hope this will shape how the NHS moves to use more digital ways of working, including the use of smartphones and automated services.

The UNISON Wales Union Learning Fund project (WULF) have coordinated the new partnership after recently sharing first prize in the ‘Skills at Work’ Inspire! Award for its commitment to supporting the self-development of Wales public sector staff at the time they needed it most.

NHS worker Jan Tomlinson, Secretary of UNISON North Wales Health Branch, said: 

“This project will make a massive difference for so many workers – it put the workforce at the heart of developing digital technologies for the future of their workplaces.

“This project will improve the lives of ordinary working people. For me, this is partnership working at its very best and I could not be prouder to sign this memorandum of understanding on behalf of UNISON.”

Dewi Smith, Programme Manager, Digital Communities Wales, said:

“Digital Communities Wales exists to reduce digital exclusion in Wales. We want a Wales where everyone has the skills, access and motivation to be confident users of digital technology and as such we are delighted to be involved in this important partnership.

“Addressing digital exclusion and supporting staff to become digitally confident are key elements of BCUHBs new digital strategy ‘Our Digital Future’, and the ‘Digital Skills Training Programme’ is an important step in delivering against the strategy.

“The programme will create practical learning opportunities for staff which are applicable at work and home, giving them the skills and knowledge to become confident users of digital technology.”

Rod Taylor, Director of Betsi Cadwaladr UHB’s Estates & Facilities Directorate, said:

“This is a unique opportunity for BCUHB, working in partnership with UNISON and Digital Communities Wales, to enable our staff group and the wider BCU organisation to access additional training. This will support our services in moving to a more efficient, dynamic, way of working, to the benefit of our patients and staff.

“It is envisaged that staff will be able to engage in digital training and awareness, which will be of benefit in both the workplace and their home life.”