Recruitment company provides digital skills to people affected by pandemic

Graffiti Recruitment managing director Julie McGrath with Innovation Factory community engagement manager Shane Smith

BELFAST recruitment firm Graffiti has provided vital digital services to hundreds of people in urgent need during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The company, based at Innovation Factory on the Springfield Road, recognised that the impact of the lockdown was magnified by those with little access to digital services and moved immediately to help bring digital skills to those most at need.

Its support included helping people complete online CVs to improve their employability, resulting in 70 finding temporary jobs as drivers and support workers.

Graffiti also trained 120 digital champions to help vulnerable people shielding from the pandemic, lacking basic online skills to access benefits or universal credit and cope with food shortages and isolation.

Graffiti Recruitment managing director Julie McGrath said: “These digital champions made a huge difference to the community, helping us to reach those that most needed it. They provided support by assisting vulnerable people in areas such as accessing social media and online food bank services, downloading apps or setting up new devices.”

An example of someone who received support was a North Belfast woman whose husband had died and whose daughter now lives in the US.

“She has no relatives left in Belfast. We were able to help her with digital services including how to download an app to connect her to her daughter in America, a vital contact during four months of lockdown. Now she can speak regularly to her daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren,” said Julie.

Graffiti Recruitment is involved in the ‘Make it Click' project run by the Good Things Foundation, funded and supported by and BT Skills For Tomorrow to promote digital inclusion.

“The world has changed. Digital skills are a universal need and those who don't have it will be hit harder by the pandemic. The aim is to get everyone online. It won't happen overnight. The digital divide is only going to get bigger as the socially deprived have less access to laptops or other online devices,” Julie added.

Shane Smith, community engagement manager at Innovation Factory, said Graffiti Recruitment provided a vital service at the height of lockdown.

“Covid-19 really exposed the digital skills gap in the community. Graffiti acted quickly to address the new reality, providing online digital services for beginners and helping to tackle loneliness and isolation felt by hundreds of vulnerable people,” he said.

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