Cork's young and old bridge the age gap to share knowledge and experience

Cork's young and old bridge the age gap to share knowledge and experience
Transition Year students at Coláiste Pobail Bheanntraí - Bantry Community College helping older people learn how to use computers and smartphones.

Classes for over 55’s who want to learn more about modern devices and the internet are running across the city and county teaching the kids of the ’40s and ’50s how to survive in our tech-savvy society.

Speaking to The Echo, Regional Project Officer Getting Started Programme Julie Oates said the Age Action courses are for anyone who wants to learn more about phones, computers and all the things they can do with them.

“There is no set curriculum and what is covered varies a great deal from class to class, but it is basic skills on various platforms such as Android, Windows or Apple,” Julie said “It is a learner-driven experience, but we always cover the basics: email, googling, knowing how to find something out on a Government website, voice and video calling.

“It varies greatly because it’s individual and we want people to enjoy the experience,” Julie said.

The courses, which start in September, are 10 hours in total and this is usually split into two-hour classes once a week for five weeks and the tutor ratio is one to one.

“In a class of eight learners, there would be 8 tutors - one tutor sitting next to each learner. And that will be the same tutor (as far as is possible) for the full 10 hours.

“Consistency is important when you’re trying to get over your fear/dislike of technology and if we’re going to beat this digital exclusion, people need to feel comfortable with who is teaching them.” Discussing what brings people to these classes, Julie said all sorts. 

“Some said their deceased partner used to do all the computer work, some said they didn’t want to feel stupid anymore, others said they want to know what is safe and is not safe on devices when minding the grandchildren, while another person said his teenage children made him attend after telling him ‘If you want to know about our lives you need to get online’.”

Julie said the skills learned in the Age Action classes are transformative for the learners.

“We get told it’s like not being able to read and write all over again,” Julie said.

If you would like to sign up to these free classes or you know someone who would benefit from this type of upskilling, email gettingstartedcork@ageaction.ie, call 021 206 7399 or text “Computer” to 087 1956026 or 086 0081484.

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