BT Group partnership boosts digital skills of older people

BT Group in partnership with AbilityNet logoAbilityNet and telecommunications company BT Group today announced a new partnership to help improve the digital skills of 4,000 older and digitally excluded people across the UK during 2023.

The UK-wide ‘Senior Skills Programme’ will deliver more than 1,000 group and one-to-one training sessions to those who need it most in regions across the UK.

Sessions will be available in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff and London. The locations were chosen based on a growing demand for tech support among older people aged 65+ in these areas. 

Older people are keen to learn digital skills

BT Group’s research* shows that two thirds (65%) of older people think that you’re never too old to learn new skills, with almost half (49%) open to learning tech skills specifically.

AbilityNet male volunteer with older female client sitting at table in kitchen talkingBasic digital skills are now increasingly important for day-to-day life. Older people who are less familiar with digital devices risk losing access to key services like banking, shopping and health services, as well as software platforms that keep people connected.

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, said:

“Digital inclusion is about making sure everyone has access to the benefits that technology offers. This new partnership with AbilityNet, and the Senior Skills programme we are creating together, seeks to dispel the mystery of tech, build confidence and awareness of misinformation, and help make a digital native out of everyone in the UK, whatever their age.”

“BT Group is committed to supporting the older generation as they adapt to using digital tools and technology. The partnership with AbiltyNet will help reach our goal of an inclusive digital future for all.”

A digital world accessible to all

Sarah Brain, Free Services Manager at AbilityNet, said: “Our vision at AbilityNet is to create a digital world which is accessible to everyone. We’ve been helping older people and disabled people of any age with their technology for 25 years. 
 
“The partnership with BT Group will help meet our goal to support the digitally excluded in building their confidence online and diversifying their skill set, helping people across the UK to live more independent and fulfilled lives.”
 
The Senior Skills programme will also encourage older and digitally excluded people to learn more about and use basic online services and help with the switch from analogue to digital home phones.

Free training sessions: The basics of digital devices and online media
Join AbilityNet experts in May and June 2023 for free tech sessions to help digital novices use the internet and digital devices.

Training roll out

As part of the partnership, the digital skills training will be available in person and through online resources, with the goal of helping participants become more independent and able to manage day-to-day digital tasks.

AbilityNet is also very pleased to welcome 40 volunteers from BT Group who will help deliver the programme.

The partnership will also encourage anyone in need of boosting their digital skills to call AbilityNet's free tech helpline: 0800 048 7642 (open Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm).

* Research carried out by OnePoll in October 2022 of 1500 people over 60 years of age in the UK.

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