Age UK’s new Digital Buddy training

Published by Sarah Parkes on

Image : A photo of a smiling woman sitting at a table with a cuppa, using her mobile phone

We are excited to announce the launch of Age UK’s new Digital Buddy training: a short 8-minute e-learning video available to support members of the public to develop the skills and confidence they need to inspire and support older people to understand the benefits of going online.

Digital technology continues to transform our lives: particularly with regard to how we communicate, work, access services and spend our spare time. There are now more older people online in later life than ever before, which is great! However, over 79% (4.2 million older people) of all digital exclusion is among those aged 65 and over. When asked, most older people who are not online say this is because they don’t need it or are not interested. However, further exploration shows that there are other contributing factors as to why older people are not online. In fact, older people may not understand the benefits it can bring, may have low self-efficacy and may have a lack of skills and knowledge about the internet and technology [1].

Age UK are tackling these challenges using a two-pronged approach. Firstly, they motivate and inspire older people to get online by helping them to understand and recognise the benefits that technology can bring. Secondly, they support older people to develop the skills and confidence to use digital technology in order to ensure that they can make the most of these benefits.

Age UK can’t do this alone, and therefore we have recruited and trained both Digital Buddies and Digital Champions.

What is a Digital Buddy?
A Digital Buddy is anyone who has the motivation and the time to support older people to understand the benefits that digital can bring.

What does a Digital Buddy do?
Through simple and informal conversations, a Digital Buddy will help their older friends and family, and older people in their community by supporting them to understand the benefits of getting online, and inspiring them to learn new skills.

A Digital Buddy may also need to be aware of what services are available locally to support older people to develop their digital skills (e.g. Digital Champions) and knows how to signpost to them accordingly.

Who can be a Digital Buddy?
A Digital Buddy can be of any age, from children through to older people themselves, and does not need any level of digital skills. The most important thing is that a Digital Buddy is passionate about how digital can support older people.

Digital Buddy Training
The 8-minute e-learning video available on the Age UK website guides you through why it’s important for older people to get online, what barriers older people face, and how you can support older people to get online at their own pace.

To join the growing community of Digital Buddies and support older people in your community, watch here.

To find out more about how we support older people through Digital Champions visit the Age UK website.

[1] Age UK Digital Inclusion Evidence Review 2018