Getting started online

More and more essential services are being offered online. For now there are still choices in how you access services - traditional methods, like making a phone call - but in the future some services may only be available online. In many cases you could get a quicker response and a cheaper service online.

According to the Lloyds Consumer Digital Index, for people with high digital engagement, there are significant lifestyle and well-being benefits: 

  • 87% say it helps them to connect better with friends and family
  • 84% say it helps them to organise their life
  • 55% say it makes them feel more part of a community
  • 44% say it helps them to manage physical and mental well-being

If you're not online yet, or are online but not very confident – don’t worry, you’re not alone. 

Every adult in Greater Manchester is entitled to FREE Digital Skills training up to Level 2. These courses are ideal if you prefer a more formal learning environment. Check out our digital map to find your nearest training provider.

Getting online and improving your skills is easier than you think. There is lots of information and support to help you get online for the first time or if you want to improve your skills - even if you don’t have a computer or a broadband/Wi-Fi connection at home.

If you have the tools you need and are happy to get started independently, Learn My Way is an excellent place to start whether you are a beginner or improver. It is totally free to use and has training courses ranging from how to use your computer or device, browse and shop on the web, send an email, socialise, find work online and gain workplace skills.

To register for Learn My Way you'll need to enter your name and email address and choose a password. If you are learning from home, click the ‘Centre’ box. The Trafford Libraries centre code is 3457566.

To track your progress, you do require an email address. Try out this guide to help you choose where to start with setting up an email account. Once you have made a choice of email provider (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo etc.), here are some step-by-step guides to help you:

The BBC have produced a Beginner's Guide which you could work through independently, covering getting started with a PC and using the internet.

Age UK have lots of tips and useful information on their website including:

O2 have also put together a jargon buster to help you navigate some of the complex language used when discussing digital and technology.

Digital Unite

Digital Unite help people learn basic digital skills through their Digital Champions Network. They have produced a number of user-friendly how-to guides:

Do you need assistance to get started?

You are able to access a computer for free at your local library, you can also access free WiFi. Visit the library pages for opening times or give us a call on 0161 912 3189 for more information.

If you would like support to get online, you can get this from a Digital Champion by visiting your local library. Digital Champions are advocates for the benefits of digital and can support residents to get online and help them learn basic digital skills. We also have Digital Champions who can provide digital skills support remotely too and from other venues, if you think this is something for you - fill in our request for support form, you can also fill in this form on behalf of someone else. 

Earlier this year we launched a Laptop Lending Scheme through the library service for people who might need access to a device.

Do you have any accessibility needs?

Henshaws is a local organisation who offer specialist support to people living with sight loss and a range of other disabilities to go beyond expectations. Everyone Can is another local organisation who can help disabled people speak, live independently through training and assistive technology.

A lot of the mainstream tech companies have put together a range of guides specific to their products and services. You can find some of these below -

If you have a device or piece of software which is not listed above, if you are able to do a google search, you should be able to find something relevant by searching for the relevant accessibility functions and features.

Do you learn better in a more formal setting?

Trafford College offer two free qualifications as part of the government’s strategy to improve the digital skills of the adult population.

It is estimated that 22% of adults do not have sufficient digital skills for everyday life and work. Available to both employed and unemployed, aged 19+, the new qualifications will help improve the employment prospects of individuals and may help them to support their children’s learning.

Read more about the course or contact the Community Learning Team on 0161 886 7441 or email if you are interested in starting a Digital Skills course.