Our approach in delivering the Stepping UP programme is to work through local partners who have a trusted relationship with their communities. We began developing our Stepping UP partner network with Hutt City Libraries in 2012 and this has progressively expanded to over 300 locations from Kaitaia in the Far North to Invercargill in Southland.
Our initial focus was on public libraries. We recognised their potential to provide digital literacy support for their communities; libraries provide a safe comfortable space for learning, most have computer equipment and internet access, and all have helpful friendly staff. These are essential ingredients for a positive learning experience for people entering the digital world for the first time. However, we soon realised that not everyone goes to a library, and we needed other partners who were able to reach people in the most digitally excluded communities.
Our Delivery Partners
The diagram illustrating our delivery partner network is a snapshot from 30 June 2021. This changes almost every week as new partners join our network to deliver one of more of our Stepping UP programmes.
Since 2017, our partner network has expanded rapidly, largely because of our Skinny Jump partnership with the Spark Foundation. After the Foundation initially tried to promote Jump through local schools, they welcomed the opportunity to work through public libraries and other local community organisations. In March 2020, when the eligibility criteria for Jump were extended to almost anyone without an internet connection, the expansion of the Stepping UP delivery network literally took off. By mid-2021, social service organisations were the most rapidly growing partner group.
With the introduction of the Better Digital Futures for Seniors programme in 2020, we have witnessed a growing interest from seniors’ organisations such as Age Concern as well as groups supporting seniors from ethnic minorities. We see a huge opportunity to expand further into retirement villages and through local community education providers.
Become a Delivery Partner
We welcome any organisation with a digital inclusion agenda as a Stepping UP partner. Partners are expected to provide suitable accommodation as well as internet-connected computers suitable for learning. Some of our Stepping UP programmes have funding for trainers, but this is generally quite limited, which is why we prefer a ‘train-the-trainer’ model, where partners develop the skills and capacity to provide digital literacy support for their own communities. We can assist with curriculum resources, promotional materials and ‘train-the-trainer’ training and support.