In 2014-15, London and Quadrant Housing (L&Q), sought help from We Are Digital to enable 300 residents to improve their basic digital skills, whilst becoming more familiar with the Universal Credit application form.

However, at the time the government Pathfinder was only rolling out Universal Credit in certain pilot areas and for new, single claimants. The residents we would be training would therefore in some cases not make a real Universal Credit application for another 18 months. L&Q also wanted to ensure full attendance to the classes as part of an equipment and dongle giveaway incentive, as well as administering travel expenses in cash each week a resident attended.


We Are Digital set upon developing an exact working replica of the Universal Credit portal, from the initial signup page through to the main menu and a full section of the government portal.

We worked closely with L&Q to design a portal which looked exactly the same as the real government site, but which had clear warnings that this was a practice form, and that We Are Digital was teaching the portal solely from an IT perspective and was not a benefits advisor. We also built a parallel online practice form which showcased the various features a learner would need to familiarise themselves with, such as dropdown boxes and back / forward buttons.

After an intensive marketing and registration campaign, residents were assigned by We Are Digital to a 5-week group course closest to their home, across multiple London boroughs. We Are Digital tracked attendance in every class and devised a method for secure cash drops to tutors across London to administer five pound notes to each resident as part of their travel expenses as the courses continued. Laptops and MIFI devices were brought into venues by tutors where needed, and Barclays bank branches were also utilised as central locations for training.



of the tenants rated the course "good or excellent"


Tenants passed through the training courses


Rise on course attendance

Overall, 270 tenants passed through training courses and were surveyed and measured, with 90.4% of the tenants rating the course “good or excellent” and the average skill level change on filling in online forms including Universal Credit increased from 1.94 to 3.14.

The use of reminder text messages improved attendance in some courses by more than 40% and all completing residents received a desktop computer and 12GB pay as you go mobile internet dongle.

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