Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 16.22.22A charity that provides advice and training to Northumberland’s volunteers and voluntary groups has improved the level of digital support it can offer, thanks to a fully funded training programme from iNorthumberland Business Support.

Established in 1987, Wansbeck Centre for Voluntary Service (CVS) works locally, regionally and nationally to promote the value and needs of the voluntary and community sector throughout Northumberland. The charity provides services such as group development, funding advice, training, and payroll and accountancy support.

Wansbeck CVS originally registered for the digital training in order to be better equipped to promote the use of digital technology throughout Northumberland’s voluntary sector.

However, Wansbeck CVS’s Information and Communication Officer, Jackie Auld – who has been undertaking the online training on behalf of the team – soon discovered that her new-found digital knowledge and skills would also help the organisation itself to enhance its use of social media and digital marketing.

The nine high quality online courses – accessible from anywhere via an e-learning portal – include social media, search engine optimisation and cloud technologies. Participating SMEs can also attend focused masterclasses to expand their digital knowledge even further. These in-depth sessions enable businesses to build on the skills developed from the online training and receive tuition from marketing industry experts.

Eligible businesses that also complete 12 hours of training will qualify for 12 months of free superfast broadband – worth up to £400.

Jackie said: “I first heard about the training programme when iNorthumberland Business Support asked us to help spread the word to other organisations via our website, and I decided to attend an introductory workshop in Prudhoe so I could better promote the programme among the voluntary and community groups we support. I quickly realised that the digital training could also be of great benefit to Wansbeck CVS, so began to work through the online courses myself.

“I have found all the courses very useful, especially the modules on social media and digital marketing. I’m pleased to say that since completing these modules I have started to develop a proper digital communications strategy, which will be instrumental in taking the charity forward. We have some exciting new developments coming up very soon and I have been able to put a number of my new skills into practice in the planning for these.”

In order to further develop her knowledge of the different areas of digital, Jackie has also so far attended five masterclasses.

She said: “It is rare to find this balance of fully funded online training and in-person masterclasses, so I am extremely keen to make the most of everything that the programme offers. I’ve completed nearly 40 hours of learning so far and the value of this is becoming more and more apparent as I make use of what I’ve learnt.”

For more information on the programme and to register, please visit www.inorthumberlandbusiness.co.uk.