Janette, aged 56, from Kensington.

Learner with Everton Development Trust (EDT).

Janette was born in Liverpool and has lived here all her life.  She attended Notre Dame School in Everton where she successfully gained her O’Levels.  After leaving school Janette went to work for the Civil Service as a clerical worker and among other things was based for 12 years in the Artificial Limb center in Mill Road.  After being made redundant she took some time off to care for her Mum, but it was after this time in her life when she found it difficult to get back into paid work.

I went to EDT in Everton to meet with Janette and to listen to her story.  Janette told me

‘I attended a job club at Blackburne House and was told I needed to get better IT skills and that would help me to get a job.  Also, part of my role as a campaigner is to produce posters and leaflets.  I didn’t really fancy doing it, and I didn’t think that I would be able to do it!’

As well as volunteering her time to support people with mental health issues, Janette also works with organisations that campaign for peace.

Janette enrolled at EDT initially on an ECDL course.  It soon became apparent that she needed to learn the basics first and so after chatting to staff at EDT was advised to do the Include-IT Mersey course.  She started back in January 2019 and liked that she could drop in when she was able to and with what fitted around her lifestyle.

‘I didn’t have a great experience at school and this made me afraid to ask for help, but I liked that this didn’t feel like a formal classroom.  It’s a very friendly place and I don’t feel stupid.  I felt relaxed and comfortable attending.  Bernie and Peter are very patient and having the 1-2-1 support is good as I am able to work at my own pace, especially as I don’t pick things up quickly.

I think it is especially good for older people and I have recommended the course to some of my friends.  It has made me feel more confident, given me a routine and structure to my week. I have also met new people.’

Janette told me that she surprised herself by sticking it out.  The course has made her feel more confident in her own abilities and she feels good when she achieves the little things.

Outside of the course, Janette has been able to apply the skills she has learnt to her voluntary work as a campaigner for peace and also has been able to support her parish with IT tasks such as producing certificates.

‘I definitely feel more confident and less phased about applying for a job.  I have started to apply for jobs in admin and reception work.’

I visited Janette at EDT one Tuesday afternoon in October and I asked her what she was working on today, she told me ‘I am doing a table of nuclear weapons test ban treaty countries to use in a meeting!’


Saima, aged 50 , from Wirral

Learner with WEA

Saima started the course in April 2019. She was struggling in the UK as a migrant worker because as a qualified doctor in India her qualifications were not being recognised here in the UK. Here’s her story.

“I was a qualified GP and junior resident in Gynecology in India. My family migrated to the USA but my sister invited me to live with her in the UK and this is how I came to be in this country.

I have been coming to Tomorrows Women Wirral to access their services. The Include IT Mersey was advertised on their website.  I contacted Gill and had a chat with her before meeting up to discuss the course to see if it was suited to my needs before I enrolled.

I needed to improve my IT skills, I wanted to know about online shopping, Facebook and other social media. I was aware that social media could be used for job search and I wanted help with looking and applying for jobs.  It was important to me to learn how to stay safe online.

Gill also referred me to the National Careers Service.   It has been hard to find out what my qualification enabled me to do in the UK and during the course this has been cleared up by the General Medical Counsel.  I have been helped to write a cover letter and tweaked my CV as well as getting guidance on interview techniques.  I began to feel more confident with job searching and I have since been invited for two interviews.  I was struggling to even get interviews before.

I like the project and I love the people on the course.  It has given me confidence, friends and structure to my week. I have learned about life in the UK in general and what other support is available to me.

My church has invited me to be a volunteer. I now work with the under privileged in my church and at the local hospice I am supporting women and babies on the Premature Baby Unit. I felt really isolated before, now I feel more confident generally and I have more friends”.

Since the interview, Saima has been offered a job as a GP in a Medical Centre in Birmingham.  She is deciding whether relocating is advisable or whether to wait for something close to home and her support network. 


Stephen Jacobs, aged 45 from Liverpool
Learner with Everton Development Trust (EDT)

Stephen hadn’t worked since 2010 but was desperate to get back into employment having worked for 23 years prior to this. His main experience was in construction and warehouse work, so he started the Include-IT Mersey course in order to improve his IT skills in the hopes of gaining employment in office-based work – as he says that heavy, manual work is becoming difficult for him as he gets older.

“This course has been a great help as I hadn’t worked for years. After getting help from staff and improving my CV, I have finally got a job again!”

Stephen made fantastic progress while on the course, so much so that he went on to start his European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, which is Level 2 in IT with Everton Development Trust (EDT). Stephen’s confidence was very low when he first came to EDT but this went from strength to strength as the course progressed.

Following his successful completion of the Include-IT Mersey course, Stephen has found full-time employment at HS Barrier Coatings who are a subcontractor based on the Cammel Lairds shipyard.


George Shaw, Digital Champion Volunteer from Halton

George has been volunteering as a Digital Champion with Include-IT Mersey for over a year. He was initially enrolled onto an Include-IT Mersey course after finding out about it through the job centre. He wasn’t sure if he would like it as he had attended courses in the past where he felt there was no support and no one to help.

However, George found this course “so good and with there being other volunteers to answer questions, I really got into it”.

George has volunteered in various roles since he was 17 so naturally, on completion of his course, he wanted to give back and therefore became a Digital Champion. “In this particular case, I knew what it was like to not to be able to ask questions and so am glad when people ask me for help and know there is someone there to answer.

When I wasn’t well a little while ago I went a bit quiet and stopped going out socialising but now with the volunteering, I’m doing all sorts of different things to help people. I’m out and about. It’s literally got me going again”.

The volunteering hasn’t just impacted on George’s social life either; he’s now able to impress his family with his I.T. knowledge!

“The granddaughters think I’m fantastic as they thought older people couldn’t learn new things, especially their granddad, but when I go in and show them something that I’ve learned, they go wow how do you know about that”!

The Include-IT Mersey course covers basic I.T. skills such as how to use email, using the internet and social media and employability skills such as writing a C.V. George assists the tutor to provide one to one support to learners:

“The people really seem to come out of themselves. It’s not just the computer part that’s of interest; it’s all of it. The course keeps learners more involved in things they are interested in, for example, one lady wanted to learn about the history of Widnes railways so we researched this together online.

George has seen the positive impact the course has made on the learners as well as benefitting him by helping others: “I think the most important thing is making the learners feel comfortable. It really helps with their confidence and this in turn helps me as I know I’ve got that person over a bump that they’ve been stuck on. They’re made up and I’m made up.”


Dawn Bailey
Learner with Age UK Wirral 

“I chose the Include-IT Mersey course to help me learn about computers and to gain some confidence. Tutors are very patient and extremely helpful. The course put me on the road to becoming a volunteer at Age UK Wirral and has built my confidence in using IT” – Dawn Bailey, Age UK Wirral

The course tutors have made this a truly great experience – learning while having fun in a non-judgmental environment!

“I needed to join the rest of the population in becoming IT literate. I heard so many positive comments about the course I realised it was exactly what I needed. The course content has all been beneficial, but for me the social aspect of learning has been the best part! After spending so many years as a carer, it can be daunting to step out into a learning environment, but the course tutors have made this a truly great experience.


Adele aged 48 from Wirral

Learner with WEA

“I’m from Liverpool originally and came to the Wirral for work. I previously worked as a market trader on a family stall and have all the patter. I have also been a café manager and a care assistant.  For family reasons we sold the stall and I do miss it. It used to be a great laugh.”

Adele has suffered with severe health issues.  “I’ve beaten cancer three times been a victim of domestic violence. My calcium glands were removed and I struggle with joints since my chemotherapy, some days I really struggle with mobility.”

Due to the difficulties Adele had been through in her personal life, she became an alcoholic and this resulted in a conviction of drink driving.  “The Judge in court told me to enrol on the course at Tomorrow’s Women Wirral.  I was terrified; I didn’t sleep at all the night before.  I went into the group with a friend and that helped, I met Gill and enrolled.  We had lots of breaks so this really helped too.

It’s chilled and not a bit like school, there is no pressure and people learn at their own speed, everybody supports everyone else and we do chat sometimes which is great.  It’s boosted my confidence as well as given structure to my week.  Its kept me motivated and I’ve made some great friends.”

On talking to other people in the group, it turns out that a local judge is a massive fan of Tomorrow’s Women Wirral and of the Include IT Mersey course.  Adele isn’t the first woman that she has instructed to attend the course as part of the terms of their sentence.  Adele also said that the course has helped her to keep compliant with her sentence.  Moving forward Adele would like to study IT skills up to A’Level with Wirral Adult Learning.

“The course has a positive effect overall and the banter provides much needed cheering up when I am having a bad day.”


Esadig (Sam) Bashir aged 53 from Wirral

Learner with Age UK Wirral

Sam is originally from Sudan and has lived in UK for 29 years.  Same has 5 children aged 17 to 23 and these include 2 sets of twins. Here’s Sam’s story:

“I came to the UK from Sudan 29 years ago and arrived in London without being able to speak a word of English.  It was Hell!  I struggled to get work and decided I would give it 6 months and if it didn’t work out for me I was going straight home.

I had a friend who lived in Chester who invited me to come and visit.  During this time, I met a woman who became my girlfriend and she helped me a lot.  She helped me learn English and helped me to get work and a place to live.

I started off working in the kitchen of a posh French restaurant in Chester called the Mill Hotel.  I was working as a kitchen porter, but wanted to earn more money, so I asked the Chef what I needed to do to become a Chef and he told me to go and study.  So that’s what I did!  I enrolled at Liverpool College and became a Chef.  I was lucky because I was able to go beck to the Mill Hotel as a Chef and worked there for many years.

Meanwhile, I met my wife, married and had children.  Being a Chef means working long hours and these are mostly evenings and weekends, this became difficult once the children came along.   I decided to become a Door Supervisor to earn better money and worked in clubs as security.

Working in clubs on the doors is not without its problems, it can be difficult at times.  I have been subjected to racism on occasions, but I challenge it.  One time an incident that involved the police lead me to talk to the individual involved rather than press charges.  After talking to this man, I dropped the charges and we became very good friends to this day.

After a time of being unemployed, I realised that I was not going to get any work unless I learned how to use a computer. I knew I needed IT skills, I had never used a computer, but I didn’t know how to go about it.  My Job Coach told me about the Include IT Mersey course and I enrolled on the course at Birkenhead Library.  I couldn’t sleep the night before.  I was so scared I was shaking.

I went along, and Lynne calmed me down and put me at ease.  She taught me how to concentrate on one thing at a time, not to be overwhelmed, to take small steps.  She is a wonderful lady.

I am enjoying the course very much.  Lynne is very patient with me.  It has opened my mind to different things; I have developed new skills and have a better chance of getting a job.  I have had good support from Age UK Wirral.

Moving forward I hope to go to the local college and continue to improve my IT skills.  I will renew my Security Licence with SIA (some of this is done online) and go back to security work”.


Dawn Bailey
Learner with Age UK Wirral 

“I chose the Include-IT Mersey course to help me learn about computers and to gain some confidence. Tutors are very patient and extremely helpful. The course put me on the road to becoming a volunteer at Age UK Wirral and has built my confidence in using IT” – Dawn Bailey, Age UK Wirral

The course tutors have made this a truly great experience – learning while having fun in a non-judgmental environment!

“I needed to join the rest of the population in becoming IT literate. I heard so many positive comments about the course I realised it was exactly what I needed. The course content has all been beneficial, but for me the social aspect of learning has been the best part! After spending so many years as a carer, it can be daunting to step out into a learning environment, but the course tutors have made this a truly great experience.


Jean Kelly, aged 54 from Runcorn
Learner with Halton Borough Council Adult Learning Centre 

Jean had never used a computer before this course, and her confidence and self-esteem were low. Jean was scared of using her husband’s work computer in case she would break it or lose any of her husband’s work. Jean said she did not believe in herself and she was “too old” to learn.

Jean was given a personalised lesson plan which outlined her objectives for each session and a challenge for her to complete. Also, a list of tasks was provided for her to take control of her own learning and be able to evaluate what she has done and achieved.

“Absolutely brilliant. Great group, great tutor. I felt 100% supported to learn and looked forward to every class”

Jean was given individual support with the help of Include-IT Mersey Digital Champion Annette Summer, and has enjoyed working in a small class and having some one-to-one support to help her remember demonstrations that she has observed in the lesson.

Jean has completed all the Learn My Way modules and passed the City and Guilds ICT functional skills exam at Entry Level 2. She has also gained a City and Guilds certificate in Employability Skills at Entry level 3.


Carl, aged 53 from St Helens 
Learner with Helena Partnerships and St Helens Chamber

Carl came to us at Helena Central in September 2017 primarily looking for work but recognising he needed help with is IT skills. Carl has a variety of health issues but was really keen and motivated to get back into work.

Carl needed a little support through the the programme as it became clear that once he got the hang of the Learn My Way system he was determined to work out for himself how to improve his skills.

Carl successfully completed the Include-IT Mersey course with Helena / St Helens Chamber in January 2018 and found that his IT skills have improved as a result of this course. Carl applied for a Facilities Assistant position with Carlisle Cleaning Services whilst he was undertaking his Include-IT Mersey course and was invited to an interview in early January 2018. Carl was successful at his interview and was offered full-time permanent contract on the 21st January 2018 and signed off Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

“I am really pleased with my new job and can’t thank Andy and Mike enough for their help and support these past months”


David Houghton, aged 60 from Liverpool
Learner with Granby Toxteth Development Trust 

David was a full-time carer for his partner until their PIP Claim was rejected and David had to register for Job Seeker Allowance (JSA). David has no formal qualifications or computer skills, but had employment experience in construction.

“I really enjoyed it. I got a lot of useful information on how to get a job, basic IT skills and an updated CV!”

David’s confidence about using technology has soared. He is now the proud owner of a tablet computer that he uses daily, and has achieved his City & Guilds online basics certificate and is actively looking for work.