Age Action is urging older people in the West of Ireland to sign up for one of their specially-designed computer training courses.
The national charity for older people has trained more than 15,000 older learners since 2007, and aims to train over 1,000 more before the end of this year.
“Our courses are especially designed for older people who are using a computer for the first time,” explained Niamh Hennelly, development officer for Age Action’s Getting Started computer training programme. “People are taught at their own pace, by their own tutor.”
According to the charity, there is strong demand for classes from older people who want to use new technology to remain in contact with their families abroad using email, Skype and social media.
“Many of our learners come to us because they are frustrated by the growing number of advertisements which feature only email or website addresses,” Ms Hennelly said.
“We also have savvy consumers who want to avail of some of the great discounts which are available only online. And then there are learners who are eager to access information about everything from news and current affairs, to rights and entitlements.”
She added that she understands that some older people may be anxious about signing up for a computer class. “But we can assure them there is nothing to be afraid of. You can’t break the computer and we have some wonderful tutors across Ireland who can help you open the door to a whole new world of opportunities.”
Age Action’s Getting Started classes have recently received funding from the Department of Communication’s Benefit IV funds. Classes are open to anyone aged 55 and older. They are currently running in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon as well as locations across Ireland.
The charity is also looking for volunteer tutors for classes in these areas. Anyone with a basic understanding of computers can help, and training is provided. Tutors must be available to commit two hours a week over a four-week period.
Details of how to register for a class or volunteer as a tutor in Galway, Mayo or Roscommon contact Age Action West at 091-527831 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.