Vodafone announces digital skills plan for seniors
Vodafone Ireland Foundation, is being joined by charities Active Retirement Ireland and Alone to deliver a digital skills training programme called ‘Hi Digital’ for people over the age of 65.
The programme – which will run for five years – will include topics such as understanding smartphones, how to keeping in touch through WhatsApp and social media, researching interests and hobbies and online shopping, entertainment and banking.
Vodafone Ireland Foundation has invested €2 million in the project, which is expected to reach 230,000 older people over its duration.
The programme will be delivered and facilitated by grassroots volunteers from Vodafone Ireland and Foundation, Active Retirement Ireland and Alone through face-to-face meetings with Active Retirement Ireland and Alone volunteers, virtual training in small groups facilitated by connectivity supplied by Vodafone’s broadband connection points, and Gigabit Hubs.
Anne O’Leary, CEO, Vodafone Ireland, said: “Through our commitment to this programme, we want to change older people’s attitude and behaviour towards technology. We want to empower older people by educating them on how to use the Internet and explain the benefits it can have on their daily lives. We are also delighted to partner with two new strategic charity partners, Active Retirement Ireland and Alone, who have worked closely with us on the Hi Digital content and will support the rollout of the platform in communities across the country.
“As technology continues to improve and advance, increasingly in Ireland and across Europe, we are seeing a digital divide between generations. This digital divide is not only creating social isolation among older people, but poses a long-term threat to mental health, leading to a risk of depression for older generations as communities and services become increasingly digitised.”
Maureen Kavanagh, CEO Active Retirement Ireland, said: “This programme is a nationwide initiative empowering older people to embrace the digital world. We will have online learning resources as well as a network of community partners who will offer support and training so older people can develop their digital skills with confidence.”
Sean Moynihan, CEO, Alone, added: “Alone’s aim is to create an infrastructure to empower older people to use technology, enabling the user to manage their social connection, health, safety and security… Over the next five years, thanks to the Vodafone Foundation, Alone will expand our offering upskilling local community groups and organisations who support older people across the country through a mix of in-person and online training sessions. We want older people to feel empowered and Hi Digital will enable them to gain valuable digital skills, ensuring competence and confidence.”
From today people can register for the programme at www.hidigital.ie or by calling 1800 203030.