Limerick digital ambassador will bring new skills to older people

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Active Retirement Ireland digital ambassador Jim Riordan at a graduation ceremony in the Royal College of Physicians.

AFTER three months of intensive technology training, County Limerick’s first Active Retirement Ireland digital ambassador graduated at a special event in Dublin last week.

Jim Riordan from Drombanna will be leading free digital skills classes for older people in their communities as part of the Vodafone Ireland Foundation Hi Digital programme.

The classes will provide tuition to older people on using the internet, using smartphones, sending emails, keeping in touch through social media or video calling, accessing online banking and government services, and shopping and making electronic payments online.

Training will also be provided in online communication and recreational services including how to use WhatsApp, watch television or listen to the radio online, plan driving routes and other travel, and book events, outings and holidays online.

The Hi Digital programme, which is being delivered in partnership with Active Retirement Ireland and ALONE  has been developed to empower older people in Ireland to build basic and essential digital skills, and help them to stay connected in their communities.

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Active Retirement Ireland chief executive Maureen Kavanagh, said that the digital exclusion of older people is a real and growing problem in Ireland, and one that is leading to increased feelings of isolation and disconnectedness.

“Through this new stage of the Hi Digital programme, our digital ambassador-led, in-person classes will further support older people’s participation online. This will help ensure they have the appropriate access and skills to engage with digital services, along with expanding the possibilities on offer to them from the digital shift.

“We are so proud of our digital ambassadors who have given up so much of their time for training and who now want to share their skills with others in their communities,” Ms Kavanagh added.

Clare digital ambassador Eugene Philips (75) who is South-West Region Spokesperson for Active Retirement Ireland said many older people with low or no digital literacy feel that getting online is too big a task or they’re too far behind.

“You don’t have to be a tech whizz — technology these days is designed to be easy for people to use and the Hi Digital courses are really accessible and designed for beginners. I am looking forward to guiding and supporting people so that they can see they really can do it.”

Older people wishing to learn or refresh their digital skills can start today with the free, self-guided Hi Digital online courses, in both English and Irish, at www.hidigital.ie