In October last year, we announced that it was our 5th birthday. 5 years since we registered digitalmums.com with GoDaddy and Companies House 5 years ago (look how different we look in the photo!). By January 2014 we were running the first ever pilot of the Digital Mums social media vocational training. And in April 2014 we welcomed our first ever Digital Mums graduates into the world.
For those of you that don’t know how Digital Mums came about, we started with a problem to solve. That problem was the digital skills gap. We thought we could be part of the solution and our original idea was to support businesses in Hackney with their digital skills gap by helping them with digital marketing. However, we were soon overwhelmed with work and realised we needed an army of social media managers to support us. During this time we happened to read a Fawcett Society report citing the rise of maternal unemployment and it clicked. We knew that mums needed support with their flexible career paths. We also knew that technology had made flexible work possible, and that social media could be done 100% remotely. We realised the army we needed was mums and Digital Mums was born.
Our social mission
As entrepreneurs, we set our sights high. It wasn’t about making money, it was about changing people's lives. So we made social impact the core of our business. We wanted to make sure we held ourselves accountable for delivering true impact for our customers. Originally we set ourselves social impact measures around digital skills but when we started training mothers to become social media experts we saw the powerful effect learning had on women across a range of areas. Skills was just the tip of the iceberg. So we set up robust processes to measure the social impact of our learning experiences, using evidence-based approaches to ensure we were delivering benefits across the board.
The power of learning
As we saw our students transform we realised we wanted to empower all women with learning opportunities to improve their circumstances, whether it be getting back into work or finding a more flexible career.
Nikki and I had experienced the power of learning, first hand. I had used learning as a way of breaking out of generational poverty I experienced in the mining valley I had grown up in. University had provided me with the means to improve by circumstances. Nikki, my work wife, left school with no qualifications wanting to see the world. She returned to formal education later in life, using it as a way to get the career she knew would satisfy her.
Evidence shows that learning delivers benefits around employment outcomes. Learning can provide you with the in-demand skills and knowledge that employers are looking for, to help you get the job you want, to keep your job or to get the promotion you’ve always wanted. There is evidence that learning increases your earning potential and increases job satisfaction. And did you know that research shows adult learning fosters a capacity to be assertive?
There is evidence that adult learning keeps the mind and body healthy. It can improve confidence and contribute to a greater level of wellbeing. It fosters a sense of identity and a sense of purpose. These are powerful benefits for women returners, in particular. We see these benefits time and time again when training our students.
We have seen first hand how these women are using learning to overcome the barriers they face in the workplace. They tell us that they’ve got their career mojo back, they are hustling their way into flexible roles that they wouldn’t have dreamed they’d get, they are setting themselves up as freelancers or establishing their own businesses to get the ultimate work that works.
We are incredibly proud of the women who have graduated from our social media vocational courses. They have completed a challenging, 350-hour training course. They have made sacrifices for their families to get a better balance. They are doing everything from social media management to consultancy and strategy, public speaking, running their own workshops, setting up their own businesses and agencies and many have won awards for their groundbreaking work and campaigns. Learning is a powerful catalyst for career change.
Our social impact performance
So we know that our graduates are smashing it. What about us? How are we performing against our mission?
We have used the 5th birthday of our first ever Digital Mums graduates as a chance to compile data on the social impact we have delivered so far.
Tomorrow we will launch our social impact report with a podcast from Nikki and I and you can also see the headlines in a handy infograph.
We are also celebrating this major milestone in an exciting way.
We have become renowned for our flexible working campaigns and will be launching our new 2019 campaign next week so watch this space! Hint - it’s not about flexible working but another issue that is currently going under the radar that we feel really passionate about.
We will also be formally launching our brand new podcast next week, sharing episodes on everything from diversity to digital trends.
So today we will be raising a glass of bubbles to our amazing graduates and everything we have achieved over the past 5 years. We hope you will join us!