Top tips for boosting your digital skills, with BT Group and Age UK

Guest speakers from BT Group and Age UK discuss how to ensure that senior citizens, in particular, are not left behind in the digital revolution.

In this informative and interactive webinar recording, you'll learn how tech can benefit people of retirement age with everyday tasks.

AbilityNet in partnership with BT Group logoTools and tips shared in the webinar also helped others, including disabled pAge UK logo with multicoloured infinity swirleople, to harness the benefits of adjusting technology to suit their needs.


Top tips for boosting your digital skills - AbilityNet webinar slides via SlideShare

In the webinar, we discussed: 

  • How BT Group is helping to boost the digital skills of older people
  • Resources for step-by-step guidance about using digital devices
  • How tech adjustments can help with sight loss, if you are deaf or hard of hearing, or with cognitive or mental health issues
  • Found out from Age UK about its Digital Champions Programme and online essentials for navigating the world wide web
  • Had an opportunity to pose your questions about using technology to the panel

Learn more about older people and tech

This webinar was aimed at anyone who would like to learn new digital skills, in particular focused on useful tips for people over 60 but the resources shared can help people of any age. Relatives, friends, carers, health and social care professionals, and people working in charities or organisations who help older people will also benefit from the advice provided, along with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) staff who support disabled employees and an older workforce.

Read our factsheet on Technology for Seniors

Request Free IT Support at Home 

AbilityNet's friendly tech volunteers provide free IT support to older people and disabled people of any age, anywhere in the UK. 

Every volunteer is security-checked and can help with all sorts of IT (information technology) challenges, from setting up new equipment, fixing technical issues, showing you how to stay connected to family, using online services and much more.


Meet the panellists

Amy Caton, smilingAmy Caton, BT Group

Amy is Senior Manager, Digital Talent and Impact at BT Group, with experience of working in the HR field and heading up projects to develop employment opportunities for diverse groups. At BT Group, Amy is working closely with AbilityNet to give more than 4,000 older and digitally excluded people the skills and confidence to thrive in a digital world.

Kathleen O'Donnell, Age UKKathleen O'Donnell, Age UK

Kathleen O’Donnell is Digital Inclusion Learning Manager and has worked for Age UK for seven years, working across a variety of different programmes from dementia interventions to physical health, and now digital inclusion. Kathleen is working on the Digital Champion Programme, to gather, analyse and share learning, to make sure older people can get the best, most suitable support for them.

Profile image of Alex Barker looking at the cameraAlex Barker, AbilityNet

Alex Barker has worked for AbilityNet for nearly 20 years and recently became a Disability Consultant at the charity. Alex has Moebius Syndrome, a very rare condition that causes paralysis in facial muscles, club foot, missing limbs and sometimes cognitive issues too. So he understands a lot of the difficulties disabled people have when using technology.


This webinar lasted 60 minutes and included an opportunity to pose questions to the guests. The panel was able to answer many questions from attendees during the live session, which you can find by watching the webinar playback or accessing the transcript. 

Q: Will you be providing any video based instructional material or is it all factsheet based currently?

Amy from BT Group: We currently don’t have any plans to create any videos, but I will feed it into the team for consideration as we evolve our work in this space.

Q: Analogue is not reliant on an electricity supply; how do digital landlines work if there was a power cut?

Amy from BT Group: Digital landlines won’t work in a power cut, so it’s important to make sure your mobile phone has charge. If you are a customer who needs extra support you may be offered a battery back-up unit or a hybrid phone that can switch to a mobile network and has a built-in battery to keep you connected for a short time if there is a power cut to make sure you can still make calls. Do speak to your provider if you have concerns.

Q: Any chance of BT visiting Independent Living schemes in the Worcester area?

Amy from BT Group: We don’t currently have any plans to deliver any programmes in the Worcester area, however our content was delivered in collaboration with AbilityNet and uses the same model so I would encourage you to reach out to them directly.

Q: When is the BTea room coming to Manchester? Are there any plans to run the BTea rooms in Derbyshire?

Amy from BT Group: We don’t currently have plans to bring the BTea Rooms to Manchester or Derbyshire. Our factsheets are available online, free of charge at and I know that AbiiltyNet also have volunteers in the area, able to support in person.

Q: How were the BT regions of support decided?

Amy from BT Group: These were areas where AbilityNet had the highest numbers of people looking for support. These aligned pretty well with BT Group hub locations so we knew we’d have BT people to volunteer to support the programme.

Q: Hi Kathleen, great video - did you say that these can be shared/used by other groups?

Kathleen from Age UK: Yes, the videos can be shared and used by anyone in the hopes to raise awareness about the benefits of digital inclusion for older people, they are available on the Age UK YouTube channel.

Q: Age UK - what date were the current digital champions finishing and what date are the new ones coming?

Kathleen from Age UK: Delivery of Cohort 1 of the Digital Champion Programme finishes in November 2023.  Cohort 2 will be commencing on 1 June 2024.  More information, including which local Age UKs are delivering the Digital Champion Programme and programme evaluations, etc. can be found on the Age UK website.

Q: Can I attribute some of the materials in my own sessions training older people?

Amy from BT Group: We’d love you to use the materials in your sessions training older people!

Kathleen from Age UK: Absolutely. You are more than welcome to use the online ‘Making the Most of the Internet’ resources, and the offline ‘Digital Inclusion Guide’ as part of your own digital support sessions, they are designed to be used by service providers, family and friends, and older people themselves.  You can access them for free here:
    •    Making the most of the internet
    •    Digital Instruction guides

Q: Please list 2, 3, or 4 good but inexpensive Android tablets with good/high/bright screens. I realise AbilityNet should not "recommend" but we are completely in the dark, needing guidance.

Alex from AbilityNet: First of all, I think I’d go for a brand that you recognise. There are lots of tablets available from Amazon/eBay, but I can’t vouch for their reliability. The Lenovo M10 is a reliable tablet and AbilityNet has used these in the past with clients. Samsung also does some good tablets too.

Q: Are DORO phones smart i.e. still able to download apps and link with Alexa, Echo etc.?

Alex from AbilityNet: Doro does a couple of Smartphones (8100 and 8200). You’ve got access to the Google app store and you can download apps to connect your phone to your smart device (Alexa/Google).

Q: Can I ask what the smart door lock does please

Alex from AbilityNet: A smart door lock will allow trusted people to have access to doors. A good example might be if you are working with someone who has carers coming in on a regular basis, they can just get access via their smartphone.  Or you might have a family member who is confined to bed and might need to unlock the front door to allow access to friends/family etc.

Q: Can all the apps be downloaded and used offline? I use a couple already but the others look great!

Alex from AbilityNet: Seeing AI and Be My Eyes do need an internet connection. Without this, they will not work. You don’t need to have wifi, you can use 3G, 4G, or 5G, but you do need to have some way of connecting to the internet.

Useful links

Date of webinar: 
12 Sep 2023 - 13:00