BT, AbilityNet partner to improve digital skills among older people

BT, AbilityNet partner to improve digital skills among older people

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

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

BT Group

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

BT Group’s own 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.

Basic digital skills have now become an almost essential requirement for day-to-day life. Older people who are without digital skills risk losing access to key services like banking, shopping and health services, as well as communications 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.”

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 work to get older and digitally excluded people online to understand and use basic services and aiding them in the switch from analogue to digital home phones.

The training will be available in person and through online resources with the aim of helping participants become more independent and able to manage day-to-day digital tasks.

40 volunteers from BT Group will help deliver the programme​. The partnership will also encourage people struggling in terms of digital skills to call a free helpline.