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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

Each person will have a different skill and confidence level.  You will need to evaluate their base level to understand what support they will need from you.  

Use our Essential Digital Skills check to measure your digital skills

These are the Foundation Digital Skills:   

  • I can turn on a device 
  • I can use the controls on a device 
  • I can use accessibility tools on my device to make it easier 
  • I can interact with the home screen or desktop on my device 
  • I can connect my device to a safe and secure internet connection 
  • I know that my passwords and personal information must be kept safe as they have a value to others 
  • I can update and change my password when prompted to do so 

Focussing on these skills, and allowing enough time to do this properly, supports people to have the building blocks to be confident to move from device to device. 

People who don’t have all 7 Foundation Digital Skills are classed as ‘digitally excluded’. In Scotland, 19% of people don’t have Foundation Digital Skills.  

Top Tip 

​When starting with a new learner it may be useful to use metaphors to explain an unfamiliar concept, so that they have a link to something they already understand. For example, we could compare using the internet to driving. In order to use the internet (drive) I need a device (car) and connectivity (petrol). This helps to introduce the idea that we need connectivity to be able to do things online. We can also compare passwords to our house keys. They help to keep things locked and only those that have the keys can get access.  

Some good resources for developing Foundation Skills: 

Device basics 

Once you know what kind of device your learner is using there are foundation resources available through Learn My Way (Good Things Foundation) to help introduce some of the basic concepts:  

Using a keyboard 

Using a mouse 

Using a touchscreen 

Using a computer 


You will need to consider any extra factors that might impact someone to gain digital skills.  

You may need to help them adjust their device due to a visual, hearing or dexterity impairment. Most devices have good built-in accessibility features such as increasing the font size, adjusting the touch settings or changing the screen colour. You can help to personalise a device to make it more suitable for each user's needs.  

Showing the different accessibility options may be enough to remove some barriers for helping people get online. For example, showing the speech accessibility functions as standard without asking about accessibility needs. Some people don’t know what they don’t know about using a device for the first time. 

My Computer, My Way is a fantastic resource from AbilityNet to help maximise use of devices for people with a variety of impairments. You can also access support from AbilityNet from their free helpline 0800 048 7642 or email  

There are also a range of resources on iPad and Chromebook accessibility settings from the Connecting Scotland website.  

Last modified on 13 April 2022
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