“Silver Surfer” computer tutors …

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The government wants thousands of people over 50 to help others get online and teach them how to use the internet, especially those aged over 65.

In a new report just released by a government think tank, The Policy Exchange, the recommendation is that about 1,000 older people could be paid up to £30,000 a year to be “silver sidekicks” and teach other people over 50 how they can use the internet and the benefits to be had by regular use.

There are 14.8 million people over the age of 50 in the UK who are online and use the internet regularly but 5.4 million people aged over 65 don’t use the internet or haven’t got access to it.

The suggested scheme could save the taxpayer about £75 million per annum by allowing the government to channel shift many functions currently carried out offline like pensions payments into online channels. It would also make it easier for those elderly pensioners to receive their money rather than have the trouble of travelling to their local post office to receive it and also to make other payments on the web.

The scheme is part of a major drive by the government to shift their own work online in order to reduce costs and make government programmes more efficient.

The think tanks calculation is that 1,000 full time internet and technology trainers could visit and teach about 4.5 million people over 65 how to use the internet. If they could enable between 500,000 to 750,000 of them to use the internet then this would enable the government to save between £170 million and £225 million over five years and enable people use the web to organise their benefits and pensions online.

The scheme of paying for the 1,000 teachers would cost £150 million over 5 years and so there would be an actual saving of approximately £75 million.

Sarah Fink who wrote the report said “It’s important that this network is made up of people who are able to relate to the particular needs of someone who have never used the internet before which is why the government should encourage “silver surfers” to become “silver sidekicks”

Silverhairs spoke to Sarah about this proposal which we fully endorse and we would like to hear what your views are on it. For more information please see this link:

http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/publications/category/item/simple-things-done-well 

Author: Sarah Fink, Research Fellow, Digital Government Unit

 

 

 

We have had a huge response from people expressing an interest in becoming a Silver sidekick … we are not sure how long this new research initiative will take to become a reality:  in the meantime it may be worth having a look at the following website http://www.go-on-uk.org/ .  There are some similar initiatives here that are already up and running and you may be able to get involved now.

 

 

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Steve Smith
17th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
This is something I'm very interested in. Although I am not yet over 50 (only 44), I thouroughly enjoy teaching the older members of my family about getting online and all the related things that go with that.
At my place of work (Ilkeston, Derbyshire) we are trying to set up some kind of volunteer work, where staff members give up a couple of hours a week to go out into the local community and offer help where we can. This I believe is where I myself would love to volunteer in some way, by helping the older generation become "internet confident". Can you give me some pointers as to where we could start / who we could contact to see if myself and any others at work could volunteer in the surrounding area in the "Silversurfers" kind of area.
Silversurfers
17th Sep 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hello Steve ... The website Digital Unite, will be your best first port of call : http://digitalunite.com They have a huge range of resources and specialise in offering help to get others online, so you may well be what they are looking for. Best of luck 🙂
Martha Quinlan
8th Aug 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
I am 71 years young, and since retiring five years ago, I have completed Accredited courses in complementary therapies. I volunteer my services as a massage therapist providing reflexology on Tuesdays at the day Centre for Caribbean elderly and on Wednesday to members of the Stroke Group.

I have experience as an IT Tutor, teaching people with disabilities in their homes and workshop setting; working in the community on previous government schemes - upskilling mothers to return to work, and carrying out Sesessional work as a trainer at colleges. I also taught on one of the first courses "Silver" ran by the college for the elderly and assisted on the Age UK "Silver Surfers" course.

My interested in working with and supporting the elderly stemmed from my experience in the community, as an employee of the NHS; supporting people with long term conditions. Visiting community centres, I noticed there was not a lot done, besides games or chair based exercise to mentally stimulate or facilitate learning new skills
such as computing, if only to email or skype their lfamily.

For the reasons given above I am interested in accessing training as a tutor for "Silver Surfers".

I would be much obliged if anyone can provide me with information where I can access training as a tutor to enable me to set-up computer training at the centre.

My thanks and appreciation
Silversurfers
8th Aug 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
Hello Martha .. you have been busy since retiring! The website Digital Unite, will be your best first port of call : http://digitalunite.com They have a huge range of resources and specialise in offering help to get others online, so you may well be what they are looking for. Best of luck 🙂
Michael
22nd Jan 2014
0
Thanks for voting!
We are a local charity bringing computer skills to local people. We know there are thousands of volunteers like us up and down the country. We reckon to train about 600 people a year. Just as several correspondents have written above, there will be overheads, and the tasks should be devolved to local authorities. Either way, the purse is currently empty and all of us charities have to scrape round for money just to keep afloat. If there was a central government funding, volunteer organisations like ours should be in the queue, however small we are numerically.
Terry
30th Nov 2013
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Sally,
As a 70 year old retired senior electro mechanical engineer that has traveled the world and with years of computer and Ipad experience I would be more than happy to assist in getting silverhairs online.
I am a writer, a member of the Biddick Writers Group in Fatfield, Washington, Tyne & Wear. I have published 2 novels and a childrens story book so far and busy writing my third novel at the moment.
I also run the writers group web site and receive many emails for advice and guidance in writing.
Keith Patterson runs a web site for Silverhairs, a very experienced man indeed with computers and helping other oer citizens in comput technology.
So, add me to your list Sally.

Terry Forster
Sally Ann
14th Nov 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Having read the Silverhairs linked document entitled as above I would like to raise a few points and be interested to know what the rest of you think.
In brief it says that The Policy Exchange (?another quango) recommends that about 1000 older computer literate people could be paid up to £30,000/yr to be 'silver sidekicks' to others over 50 and teach them to use the internet. What a waste of government (our!) money!! The government seems to have this built in procedure of 'throw some money at it without thinking, that'll solve it and then we can forget it'.

This scheme in essence is a good one and needs, therefore, to be set up properly. Certainly it needs funding, but better by far to allocate a budget to individual councils to set up their own local schemes. Laptops could be moved from venue to venue and assessed VOLUNTEER tutors found. Older people like the social contact, especially with others 'in the same boat'. Also, getting people together the tutor can help several people at once. Equally, if someone needs to be taught at home for health reasons or cannot get to a church hall or whatever venue (though this can usually be arranged with famly/volunteeer help) then they could pay a fee to the council to arrange this with a tutor.

Getting several people together works with Impact-Initiatives/ukonline. It has been proven and is still running with younger people to get them applying for jobs online after sorting out their CVs. Paid manager – volunteer tutors. I believe they are referred by The Job Centre. This also worked with the over 60s here in Hove until they recently loss their funding from ukonline.

Also, most people over 50 would willingly give up one afternoon/evening to teach voluntarily with the only incentive being the satisfaction of seeing someone achieve the ultimate goal and get online and enjoy it – and perhaps a cup of tea and a biscuit! If the govenrment goes ahead with this paid idea there will be a rush of people, a lot unsuited to the role of tutor – it's not just knowing your stuff it is having endless patience and a sense of humour. I know I've done it!

And why can't clubs, associations, colleges, schools and even businesses organise sessions? Clubs can put up two lists on their noticeboards – one for those willing to teach and one for those needing help and so merge the two. Colleges and schools have computers – out of hours the councils could cover the overheads out of their allocation. Businesses have computers that could be used in the evenings – a member of staff could surely be paid overtime to look after the company's interest. I am sure it would be tax deductable and good PR for that company.

As David Cameron is all for The Big Society why does he not use this opportunity to promote it in a huge way??

By the way, I strongly object to the term 'sidekick'. It denotes someone less worthy than the other.
Jan
9th Nov 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Happy to help! Have emailed you.
Keith Paterson
2nd Nov 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
As the author of the co uk version of silverhairs you know I am committed to the task of increasing the number of old people who are happy to use the net. So, do add my name to the list, Sally, and we will see what happens to the proposal. Currently I do this voluntarily via Age uk and Ability.net. It would be great to get paid for it. I am also revising my book "Hints and tips for silver surfers" . The previous version sold 800 copies via the net. Publishing via Amazon will make the task much easier this time around
harry Lawson
24th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Sally. As a retired engineer, and internet and gadget freak, I would love to help. I have already taught a disabled friend (he has brain damage and memory loss problems) how to use a pc and become pc literate. I now fully understand how some people can have real problems with computers and the internet. I on the other hand have set up my own LAN and have 2 computers, a 4 camera cctv system and a wireless printer as well as my samsung ace smart phone , all on line and all fully functioning. I have extensive knowledge of digital photography (my hobby) and editing both on a pc and on line.

Do you think I might be of any use?

If so.. please add me to the list.

Regards

Harry
Keith Paterson
20th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
I think this will result in another U turn by the government when they realise how much it is all going to cost. The administration costs alone and vetting suitable tutors will be too much. I think it is a case of relying on David Cameron's Big Society, the voluntary workers.
Silverhairs
17th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
We have had a huge response from people expressing an interest in becoming a Silver sidekick ... we are not sure how long this new research initiative will take to become a reality: in the meantime it may be worth having a look at the following website http://www.go-on-uk.org/ . There are some similar initiatives here that are already up and running and you may be able to get involved now.
Iris Johnson
15th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Ive been using computers for over 20 years both at home and at work in the NHS. I would love to be able to pass on what I know to someone else.
Carole Soanes
13th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Would love to help - love using t'internet and have experience of training and working in various roles such as police, NHS etc.
ISABEL LAMPER
12th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Please add my details to your list
ISABEL LAMPER
Jeanette Hellier
11th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Hi Sally, just found your Silverhairs site and I like the idea of helping people to become familiar with computers. I am retired but work as and when needed at our local College invigilating at the exams. We take lots of exams on the computer nowadays. I use my laptop a lot for e-mails, facebook, on line banking and sho;pping. I have also booked complete holidays on the computer.
ISABEL LAMPER
10th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
What a brilliant idea I would love to be involved,I am not perfect but I can teach people how to surf the internet.I am retired and use my laptop alot for shopping,for information,have just joined Facebook.
IAN GRUBB
10th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
would love to get involved with this idea i am not perfect in all aspects but can sure learn some folks how to do things online
Bud
8th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
What a great idea, my idea would to be to have schools as a drop in centres for oldies once a week where, as a part if community service the students could teach computer skills, just think for the price of a cup of tea and a cake the government could inspire, community service, generational interaction and get oldies on line .
Keith Rider
8th Oct 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
I wanted to offer my help before, in helping oldies, but I could not find anywhere to go.

Just had fun yesterday helping a friend get rid of the Ukash virus. It locks your PC, says you have been on banned sites, and wants £100 to unlock your PC! There is even a Met Police logo on the screen. Nasty.
John
23rd Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Long time computer user in telecomms engineering/created own website have progamming experience so know my way around IT. Would welcome chance of helping others please.
Heather Sweeting
23rd Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
This sounds like a good idea provided it's not primarily just to help the government budget!
It would be lovely to help elderly technophobes who would really like to overcome the initial 'I can't' barrier and take the first step in using a pc. I think people have got to want to get involved with computing and should not simply be coerced into it.
Access to computers would be marvellous for the over 65's! How about a free laptop and reduced Broadband charges provided you complete an introductory computer course, commence Internet Banking ,and begin paying Council Tax online! That would be a start. I don't socialise on Facebook but I do use email and Skype and do spreadsheets as well as Internet Banking. I'm happy to help part time. HLS
Ann Hughes
21st Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
I would love to help other ''silverhairs '' to use a computer. I am a retired teacher who relies on my computer to do my weekly shop, pay bills, read newspapers etc. It would also help me to do what I miss-----Teach.!!!
Patricia
21st Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
I am newly retired after spending my working life as a PA/secretary. I am just over 60 and would not be without my laptop. I use it for all my shopping needs both food and clothing so it leaves me free to meet up with friends. I think this is a terrific idea and I would be willing to help.
Silverhairs
19th Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
This reply was emailed to me earlier, and I feel it is worthy of a share!

As a CIPD qualified trainer I would love to be silver sidekick. At 52 I’m full immersed in the modern world, shop online and am an avid facebook user. I think that its very important that as you age you keep up with the world as much as possible and head off the phrase “its passing me by” as long as possible !! I’m a real advocate of “silver surfing” and of getting as many ageing people online as possible – just think of the benefits in terms of social inclusion alone!! One of the comments that is often made is that it can be lonely as we get older. However if we were online we have a whole world of chat rooms, forums and discussion groups that we can use all day every day if we want to.

And it’s not just the internet on PC’s or laptops – what about smart phones and iPads/tablets..........

Phew I’ll stop now ... count me in !!!
Jillian Marks
19th Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
I would love to share my knowledge, I get so much pleasure out of my computer and internet - no one ever needs to be lonely anymore and there is a wealth of learning and sharing its never too late to learn
Heather Lyon
19th Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Yes, that's a very good idea.
I've learned to use a computer in the last ten years and used it extensively when writing and doing research for my BA dissertation (2009-2010).
I'd be delighted to be paid for helping others to learn, especially if they have Dyslexia (as I do).
Sue and John Pickles
19th Sep 2012
0
Thanks for voting!
Both of us are newly retired fully qualified GCSE and "A" level ICT teachers........................ We could be interested in becoming Silver Sidekicks.

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