The Young Mentors program is an intergenerational program bringing together secondary school students and older Australians.
It supports older Australians to improve their digital skills by bringing them together with young people in a mentoring capacity, to share digital skills and knowledge.
Not only does it facilitate essential digital learning for older Australians and build their confidence in using technology, but it also gives young people the opportunity to develop valuable teaching, communication and leadership skills.
This program has been developed by eSafety as part of the Be Connected initiative.
We are calling on schools, libraries, councils, aged residential care facilities and other community groups to get involved.
If you are a student, parent or part of an organisation that supports older Australians and are interested in taking part in Young Mentors, we encourage you to share this page with your school or organisation.
If you are interested in supporting older Australians to learn about and use technology as an individual, you might like to volunteer with a local community organisation.
The Be Connected Partner map has details on community organisations in the Be Connected Network that all share a passion for digital inclusion. Explore the map and contact organisations near you directly to see if you can lend a hand.
- At Amana Living, we found a lot of our staff were being asked questions about how to use mobile phones, how to use iPads.
- The people are coming to libraries all the time.
- It's people looking for help with technology, and we just don't have the resources on our own.
- My memory isn't what it used to be.
- I've got five kids, and you'd think out of that lot one of them would be willing to teach me how to, but none of them are.
- They close themselves off, and in today's world, that meant negating abilities to access forms that they needed for medical care, ability to communicate with us, and it was just through fear.
- This is what this program does so beautifully, children teaching adults how not to be frightened.
- We're using technology something the students are very familiar with.
- We're bringing together the two generations.
- We're giving our girls the opportunity to teach and learn so many skills that they've never had the opportunity to use before.
- This is a great way to get your school involved to open the doors to the local community, it empowers them to share what they know.
- The seniors develop a respect for young people, they can see that they have a lot to offer, and to contribute to society.
- This is such a marvellous opportunity.
- How lucky are we?
- The eSafety Commissioner, they have a host of learning material.
- The training booklet that I was working from has got everything in it.
- Having the Be Connected website and to be able to access all of those online modules is really wonderful.
- There's a lot of tutorials to help us.
- The students are given prepared lessons.
- It was all just training to set us up to know how to work in the environment with the senior citizens.
- They had the opportunity to learn technology, to learn that it didn't hurt, how to set privacy settings so that they felt safe.
- Because this is one on one, it doesn't matter what the person's skill or capacity is, you can grade and adapt the session for them.
- I do like the one to one.
- They're quite happy to repeat it all again.
- You just go at your own pace.
- This has been amazing. If you got a refresher course, I'll be back.
- There's always something that I've missed.
- You can come here and they'll teach you.
- She's been very good.
- My granddaughter became pregnant, and I would've liked to have gone over there when it was born but through Facebook, I saw every day of that baby's life!
- They're always really happy to see you.
- It makes me happy and it just brings a smile to their face and it brings a smile to mine.
- It gives me a lot of like interpersonal skills.
- You have to build a connection with them.
- If I had to describe the course in one word, it would be valuable.
- A miracle.
- I'd say to another aged care organisation or another school, go for it because there are benefits that you can't predict.
- There is happiness and joy and confidence.
- I would strongly recommend schools and other partners in our community take this on because the rewards are just immense.
- I can't think of a reason why not to do it.
- Jump in there, sign up and away you go.
The Young Mentors progam
Who can register for this program?
Any organisation with a connection to older Australians or young people, looking to build the skills of their community, is encouraged to register. Mentoring sessions take place over the course of several weeks, and are one-to-one and self-paced.
- School coordinator looking for a Service in Community, volunteering awards, work experience or leadership program for their students
- School Community Service Program Coordinator
- School ICT (Information Communication Technology) or DT (Digital Technologies) lead looking for a program that ties in with an ICT or DT elective
Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award
Coordinator or Award Leader looking for a program for their students to undertake in the Service section of the Award.
If you are a community program lead in a library, you can connect with a local school and enhance program offerings for older visitors to the library.
For coordinators in a Community Centre or Computer Club, you can connect with a local school to help build confidence in technology and reduce feelings of isolation for older visitors across the organisation’s offered programs.
Aged or residential care facilities
If you are a Lifestyle Manager in an aged/residential care setting, you can connect with a local school to help build your residents’ confidence in technology and independence in a fun and relaxed setting.
Emily, Manager Enrichment & Volunteer Services
Louise, Enrichment Technology Advisor
St Mary's Anglican Girls' School older learner #1
St Mary's Anglican Girls' School older learner #2
All Saints' College older learner
Register and get started
Registration gives you access to a comprehensive Tool Kit with all the promotional, training and facilitation materials you will need to successfully find a partner, as well as recruit participants and supervise the mentoring sessions.
You will also have access to a post Program Feedback Report on completion of the program.
Register your organisation and get access to the Tool Kit of resources.
Find a partner
A school or youth group will recruit young students to pair with older participants.
Template letter of introduction, program one-pager and suggested program timeline are provided to help you with this step.
Promote the program
Highlight the benefits of being part of the program to your potential participants using flyers, posters and newsletter articles provided in the Tool Kit.
Train the young mentors
Deliver training to young people on how to mentor an older learner using the step-by-step training guide and slide pack provided. Have a discussion with your partner to determine who is best placed to deliver this training.
Training covers the benefits of mentoring, the skills of a good mentor, different learning styles, safety aspects of the program and provides students with resources and handouts to help with their mentoring.
Supervise the mentoring sessions
Organise the mentoring sessions and ensure all sessions are supervised and supported over the time period agreed with your partner (e.g. one hour per week, over six weeks).
The facilitator’s guide and end of program certificates are provided in the Tool Kit.
How long will the program take?
The Program Delivery Timeline below provides some guidance on how long the program will take to deliver.
Young Mentors is a program developed by eSafety as part of Be Connected.
Be Connected is a joint Australian government initiative between the Department of Social Services, the eSafety Commissioner and Good Things Foundation to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians. Be Connected aims to empower everyone to use the internet and everyday technology to thrive in our digital world.