Sarah Williams has launched a business to help people make the most of the digital age.
Having spent years working on the roll-out of computerisation of the UK’s Post office network, she has set up a new Swansea-based business, Tech Connect.
Her firm offers one-to-one tutoring on digital devices to help people get to grips with their computers, tablets, laptops and smart phones.
“Many people have expensive devices, but have little understanding of how to use them,” she said. “This generally is not their fault as instructions often assume a level of competence which they may not have, and can often be unclear.”
The business has been supported by a Business Start Up grant of £750 from Swansea Council via funding provided in co-operation with Tata Steel subsidiary, UK Steel Enterprise. The grant enabled Sarah to buy an Apple Mac laptop so that she can teach skills on Apple as well as PC based devices.
Sarah has many years’ experience in helping people become more digital-savvy.
In 2000, she was part of the Horizon programme which digitised every post office in the UK. “This was a huge transformation for the post office network. Many people running post offices had never touched a computer, and had little confidence in their abilities to understand it.
“It was a huge challenge, but I learnt to treat people with tact and patience and found that this was very important in the learning process.”
Tech Connect has a growing client base around the Swansea area.
Sarah visits her clients at home, and many of them tend to be from the older generation. “Typically, someone’s children will have given them a device to help keep in touch, and it is proving difficult to master,” she said.
“I help people with the basics, and confidence tends to grow very quickly.”
Of course, more and more everyday transactions are now online and people who struggle with this can find it has a big impact on their lives. “I think it is important for most people to get to grips with the internet, and there is nothing to be ashamed about in admitting it can be difficult.”
“Being secure online is increasingly important these days, and it is essential to have an understanding of these issues”, she added.
Martin Palmer of Tata Steel subsidiary UK Steel Enterprise said: “This is a very good example of our community support programme providing a valuable service in the community. Sarah is helping people become more confident in using the internet in their daily lives and giving guidance to keep them safe online. We wish her every success.”
Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council’s cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: “We were delighted to help Sarah with a Business Start Up grant.
“Swansea is a city of ambition and opportunity – and it has a great digital future so the services Sarah provides will become increasingly valuable.
“The city’s ongoing regeneration will create many new business opportunities and we’re pleased to be able to help start-ups and other local enterprises in a number of ways.”