Young people with tech skills across the Valley are being urged to join a program that aims to improve older Australians' digital skills and knowledge via a mentor-like relationship.
The Australian Government has launched a program called ''Young Mentors'' with local schools and community groups across the Hunter Valley encouraged to apply for the free digital mentoring initiative, according to Hunter MP Dan Repacholi.
"We know older Australians can be vulnerable online and the Young Mentors program is one way that seeks to improve the digital literacy of older Australians and protect them in the digital space," Mr Repacholi said.
"I encourage community groups and schools in the Hunter electorate to sign up for Young Mentors. This will fosters genuine connection between generations while making the online world a safer place we can all enjoy."
The program supports older Australians to get online while encouraging a greater sense of community and connection through interaction with young people.
It involves community organisations or groups partnering with secondary schools to coordinate one-hour mentoring sessions that are delivered weekly over a period of six weeks. The sessions focus specifically on the needs of the older learners.
According to Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland, mentoring can build confidence in using digital technology, which can create a greater sense of independence, provide access to more services and reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
"The Young Mentors program helps bridge the digital divide by connecting two groups that were particularly impacted through the COVID-19 pandemic - older Australians and young people," Ms Rowlands said.
The program is being rolled out nationally, inviting schools, councils, libraries, aged residential care facilities and other community groups to sign up to be part of Young Mentors.
To register or for more information visit esafety.gov.au/beconnectedyoungmentors.
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