Free data keeps jobseekers in the loop

19 Apr 2024
Even the simplest of everyday tasks becomes more difficult when you don’t have online access. So if you’ve been out of work for the best part of a year and can’t afford to top up your mobile data it can make finding a new job feel like even more of an uphill struggle.

For Restart Scheme participants at Ingeus’ London and Greater Manchester offices, however, it’s one bump on the road to life-changing employment that can be smoothed away.

Thanks to a partnership backed by some of the UK’s biggest tech companies, people being supported into work by Ingeus under the Government scheme are eligible for a free SIM card pre-loaded with data to help with job searching, keeping appointments, and staying in touch.

The National Databank is like a food bank, but for mobile data, and was set up by the Good Things Foundation, whose mission is to improve digital inclusion across the UK. It works through partners such as Ingeus to supply data-loaded SIM cards provided by Virgin Media O2, Vodafone and Three.

It has donated more than 2,000 cards to be distributed through Ingeus’ London and Greater Manchester sites for those who need data the most.

Isobel Thomas, Head of Community Engagement and Experience at the Good Things Foundation says: “We are proud of working in partnership with Ingeus to help jobseekers. This allows Good Things to help the most vulnerable people in society become digitally included. Together we can fix the digital divide."

Ingeus Head of Integration in London Mike Collins adds: “The customers the National Databank is looking to help are very much aligned to the participants we support at Ingeus, hence it’s a natural partnership for us.”

Restart Advisors assess participants for their digital needs and recommend them for a free card if they believe it would improve the person’s chance to reboot their lives through worthwhile work.

One London Restart Scheme participant, whose job search ran the risk of being hampered by having no internet access, is delighted to benefit from the Databank scheme. He says: “When I mentioned I couldn’t afford to top up the data on my phone I was offered a free, yes free, SIM card! That made my day and now I am looking forward to what the Restart Scheme has to offer.”

The initiative was first introduced as part of the Ingeus Restart Scheme operation in Greater Manchester, where Partnerships and Integration Manager Elodie Ritter says: “The Good Things Foundation's mission to bridge the digital divide is essential, and we're proud to partner with them to ensure digital inclusion for all our participants.”

In London Sonia Santos, Local Integration Lead in the capital, championed the scheme and says: “In an era where most things are done online and more households are dealing with digital poverty, we are grateful to be partners with the Good Things Foundation to have a positive impact in the community.”

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