Shropshire Council

Computer skills for all

Online digital skills for all

These days everything seems to be on a website, and if you aren’t sure how to use a computer you can feel left behind. This doesn't have to be the case.

There are free online courses to learn digital skills and stay safe and connected through the handy online training tool Learn My Way.

If you are a tenant of a social landlord, speak to them to see if they give any support in your area.

National Careers Service gives a range of computer essentials courses, all free of charge.

Digital skills programme for Shropshire Residents aged 65+

Compared to other areas, Shropshire has a higher number of older people who do not know how to use the internet. The council and other organisations have put many of their essential services online, so having confidence in using the internet is an important everyday life skill.

We are helping people aged 65+ to understand how to use the internet and make the most out of being online. Five hundred older learners will benefit from the new service through a network of friendly information technology (IT) clubs offering one-to-one support from volunteers who are confident using IT.

Hundreds of older people signed up for support during our pilot project, with many giving loneliness and frustration as their reason for looking for help.

IT clubs are to open in Shropshire Libraries and others are up and running in Shrewsbury’s Roy Fletcher Centre and The Mayfair Community Centre in Church Stretton.

A unique learn-at-home service is being delivered by Age UK Shropshire Telford and Wrekin to support learners who can't access a community setting.

As well as one-to-one support, we have free tablets and connectivity for people in greatest need. The IT clubs have a fun and relaxed atmosphere, with volunteers offering support in a friendly, welcoming, and supportive space.

We are leading the way with this unique service and sharing ideas and best practice with other Councils looking to develop similar services across the UK.

For information about our Digital Skills Programme for Shropshire residents aged 65+, please contact Andrea Miller

Feedback from those who have received support

This service makes a positive difference to the lives of our older community and feedback is very positive. Learners have been delighted by the skills they have learnt and keen to tell others to look for help in learning the same skills.

“I could just about use my iPad to call my son in Australia and nothing else,” said one 74-year-old customer. “Now, after just a few sessions, I can look things up on Google, send messages and emails and watch Netflix. I look forward to the IT Club all week. It’s brilliant. I was a builder by trade and knew nothing about technology. Now, my son keeps saying ‘Welcome to the 21st century Dad!’”

Another customer, aged 80, who was reluctant at first, said “I realise now that the internet is a wonderful tool. I can see the benefits it brings, and I don’t think I would go back to life without it now.”

Want to help others?

We have had many requests from people who are desperate for an opportunity to get help.

Shropshire Libraries are on the look-out for new volunteers who are able to give a few hours of support each week to older learners. Helping someone overcome their fears and grow more confident online can be both inspiring and rewarding. Ordering medications quickly and easily, feeling safe online, getting food shopping delivered to your door and enjoying regular video calls with friends and family are just some of the skills digital volunteers can help people to learn.

If you have lots of patience, a reasonable level of IT literacy and a sense of humour, we’d love to hear from you. It can be a great way to meet new people, develop your skills and help others.

For information on becoming a digital volunteer in Shropshire Libraries, contact Mirka Duxberry