There are more than 500,000 people aged over 65 in Ireland but less than 25% of this age group use the internet.
Working together, we can change this - and schools all over Ireland can help!
On this page you will find:
- The background of the Getting Started programme
- How the programme works
- Benefits for Older People
- Benefits for Corporate Partners
- Views from a Corporate Partner
- Views from Learners and Volunteers
- How to get involved!
- Contact the Getting Started team
Background of the Getting Started programme
Age Action is a charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. Working with, and on behalf of older people, we aim to make Ireland the best place in the world in which to grow older.
Age Action’s award winning Getting Started programme helps older people to embrace new technologies by training volunteers to provide one to one tuition to them in basic IT skills.
Since 2006, our volunteers have trained over 30,000 older people (aged 55 and over) across Ireland to use computers, digital devices and the internet – opening up whole new worlds and opportunities for them.
Get involved - Make a real difference to older people’s lives!
By partnering with the Getting Started programme businesses around Ireland can help us to continue providing learning opportunities for older people, bridge the digital divide, beat exclusion and isolation and increase independence and equality for older people across Ireland. Many older people have a genuine fear of computers, and providing one to one tuition has helped many overcome this fear because they are able to learn at their own pace. Our learner-centred programme has proven very successful with older people.
How the programme works
Age Action runs beginners’ computer classes for older people in venues such as libraries, family resource centres and sheltered housing across Dublin, Cork, Galway, Kildare, Wicklow, Louth, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo, Kilkenny and Waterford. Most of our classes run during the daytime from Monday to Friday. All our tutors are volunteers and work one to one with older learners in small class groups. The course normally runs for 2 hours once a week for 4 weeks or 1 ½ hours a week for 5 weeks. Volunteers work, where possible, with the same learner each week for the duration of the course. We ask volunteers to commit to 8 hours initially and volunteers are welcome to continue to volunteer with us after their first course is complete.
To run an in-house programme is also an option. What is required is a small training room, WiFi, relatively good access via public transport and willing volunteers! The following companies have supported our programme (either in-house or externally in our local venues) – Google, HP, IBM, Irish Life, Citi Bank, Ulster Bank, Lionbridge, Deloitte, Salesforce, Paypal, VMware, EMC, Dell Software, Eli Lilly, Qualcomm, MSD Brinny and Cisco.
Classes are for older people with little or no computer experience and volunteers just need to have basic IT skills, fluent English, an interest in working with older people, patience and a sense of humour. Volunteers will receive training from Age Action’s project officers before they start to tutor. The training takes approximately one hour and ongoing support will be available to volunteers from the project officer. Age Action has specially designed training material for both volunteers and participants to follow.
Benefits for Older People
- Overcoming their fear of technology
- Confidence in using the internet helps older people stay active, healthy and less isolated.
- Information technology offers opportunities to connect, communicate and stay in touch with family and friends.
- The internet offers greater consumer choice, convenience and savings for older people.
Benefits for Corporate Partners
- Partnership on a successful and well-established, award-winning programme
- Volunteering opportunities for employees at a time that is convenient for them
- Opportunity to advertise and offer the training to older family members of employees
Join some great companies!
Some of the companies where employees have volunteered as tutors with Age Action's Getting Started programme:
View from a Corporate Partner:
"Getting Started was exactly the type of programme we were looking for when an IBM employee who had been volunteering as a Getting Started tutor proposed the idea of an in-house programme. At IBM we encourage skills-based volunteering and we now have over 100 employees volunteering each week at two of our Dublin sites and are about to launch another programme at our site in Galway. The IBM volunteers enjoy the programme both from a social and skills-sharing perspective and the students seem to too, so it's a win-win!"
- Deirdre Kennedy, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs, IBM
Views from learners and volunteers:
"I have never done anything like this before and I really enjoyed it. I looked forward to the class each week and It was really rewarding to see my student progress." - Irish Life Volunteer
"I found the course very good, I had a great tutor and I have to say I underestimated myself a lot, never though I could do this and I am so pleased. I have achieved a lot here and thank you so much. I can now email my sister in Canada” - Learner
"There was more to teaching - my student than merely explaining things to her. Much like the students, I looked forward to tea breaks to chat with among the group and to learn about her and all the other students and volunteers. I came away from every class with new knowledge, greater confidence, and a lighter heart." - Volunteer
"I felt this course and tuition was terrific. My tutor was very patient and very helpful. The training model used on the programme was excellent. I earned very useful skills and would be very keen to recommend it. I only just got broadband at home. There will be no stopping me once set up I don’t think it could be improved on. I found the course very useful. I was able to ask for help with difficulties I had with my computer skills." - Learner