Frequently asked questions
Read our FAQs to find out more about the Young Mentors program.
Young Mentors has been developed by eSafety as part of the Be Connected Initiative. Be Connected is an Australian Government initiative developed to increase the confidence, skills and online safety of older Australians.
Registration ensures you have access to the Program Tool Kit.
This includes all suggested timelines, guidance, promotional resources, templates and training materials needed to run the program.
You will also be able to generate a Program Feedback Report highlighting feedback from all participants.
Find a partner
School Coordinators can approach and partner with an aged/residential care facility or a local community organisation connected with older Australians.
Coordinators from schools can access the Be Connected Network Partners — a national network of community groups already helping older Australians build confidence in the use of technology.
Community Coordinators can approach and partner with a nearby school or youth group. Sample Letters of Introduction are available in the Tool Kit to help make that first connection.
Young Mentors is a program for secondary school students and Australians over 50. It has been developed to help support older Australians who have little to no digital literacy.
The program is aimed at secondary school students, particularly from Years 9 upwards, who have good communications skills and an understanding of what it means to be safe online.
No. Older learners participating in the Young Mentors program do not have to sign up to Be Connected. Young mentors will be made aware of the Be Connected site and can use this free resource if it helps with their mentoring.
If older learners feel comfortable to do so during or after their mentoring sessions, they may want to sign up to Be Connected to continue their learning.
The program is intended for older Australians who have little to no digital literacy, and may not be suitable for older Australians with advanced skills.
Young Mentors is a free Government initiative. There is no charge to be part of this program, but you might have some other costs to consider:
- All adults involved in training and facilitating mentoring sessions, or driving young mentors to the mentoring session venue, must have a valid Working with Children Check or Police Checks applicable for the jurisdiction where the program is being delivered.
- There may be a cost in transporting participants to and from the mentoring sessions.
While there is no funding for the Young Mentors program, it is part of the Be Connected initiative. The Be Connected program comprises of online learning resources as well as a network of community partners — the Be Connected Network.
As a Be Connected Network Partner, there are a range of grants available to support older people in their communities develop digital skills and confidence.
One of the resources provided in the Tool Kit after you have registered is the Program Timeline Template. This outlines all the activities needed to deliver the five steps: 1) Register, 2) Find a Partner, 3) Promote the program, 4) Train the young mentors and 5) Supervise the mentoring sessions.
If you would like to receive a copy of this template prior to registering to get a better sense of the activities required, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This will depend on the individual partners’ capacity. The suggested timeframes in the Program Timeline Template are for registering, finding a partner and promoting the program, which may take 10 weeks, i.e. one school term.
The mentor training and facilitating the sessions will take another nine weeks. This suggests one term to plan, and one term to deliver the program.
There is no specified time to run the program. The coordinator, along with their chosen partner, will determine the best time that suits both organisations.
The program recommends that mentor training takes 3.5 hours.
To deliver the most comprehensive training and ensure that expectations on how to mentor an older person are clear to young mentors, the following agenda and timelines are recommended:
- Introduction to mentoring and its benefits —15 mins
- Mentoring an older person — 45 mins
- Skills required
- Safety concerns
- Possible obstacles/difficulties
- Where to start — 20 mins
- Available resources — 25 mins
- Role-playing — 60 mins
- Creating a teaching plan — 15 mins
- Reflection on learning — 10 mins
- Mentor Revision booklet and survey — 20 mins
The mentor training could be delivered by the coordinator, partner or by someone they both agree would be appropriate for the role.
The young mentors will bring their own devices to the mentoring sessions – smartphones, iPads, tablets and laptops, or they may use laptops or computers provided by the school, if the mentoring sessions are held at a school venue.
Older learners will also bring their own devices – phones, smartphones, iPads, tablets, laptops. Alternatively, they may borrow a device from a library or if the mentoring sessions are taking place in a library venue, they may use the library laptops or computers.
The program suggests one-hour sessions each week over a period of six weeks.
The regular meetings between young people and older participants will build on the digital skills learned and foster a deeper sense of community for both parties.
The program suggests one hour for each mentoring session. One hour gives participants time to settle into the session, review learnings from the previous week, set new goals, and continue to build on skills learned.
There is no specified time to run the mentoring sessions. The coordinator, along with their chosen partner, will determine the best time for both organisations to run the sessions.
Surveys and program report
Surveys are conducted pre and post program to capture feedback from participants and enable evaluation of the Young Mentors program. The surveys are anonymous, with aggregated results provided to the organisers.
A Program Feedback Report can be generated by the registered coordinator of the Young Mentors program. The full report includes information captured at registration and in the pre and post program surveys.
Celebrations and certificates
Certificate templates are provided for the following:
- Young Mentor – completion of mentor training
- Young Mentor – completion of mentoring sessions
- Older Learner – completion of mentoring sessions
- Partnership Certificate – for coordinating organisation and partner organisation.
Note: The certificates for Young Mentors capture the number of volunteering hours that they have contributed to the Be Connected Young Mentor program. These hours can count towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Service Section, to Service in Community or to other volunteering awards programs.
Some coordinators and partners may want to mark the closure of the program by holding a morning or afternoon tea with all participants.
This can be held at the last mentoring session and is a warm and engaging way to finish the program, and congratulate all participants involved.
A checklist is provided to ensure all safety aspects are considered, such as:
- Valid Working with Children or Police Checks applicable for the jurisdiction where the program is being delivered
- Signed consent forms from parents/guardians
- Appropriate resources in attendance for any participants with special needs that might prohibit them cognitively or physically from functioning independently.
- COVID-19 safety advice is adhered to for the state or local area where the program is run and safety policies of participating organisations and COVID-19 safe practices are followed.
At eSafety, all our resources and services are underpinned by evidence-based research. We engage stakeholders with diverse experience and knowledge and work consultatively with them to ensure all resources meet the needs of the community and are fit for their intended purpose.
We would like to thank the following organisations for their generous contribution and continuing support: Albury Wodonga Volunteer Resource Bureau, Canterbury Bankstown Library & Knowledge Centres, Lively, AMANA Living, Lane Cove Council, Bayside Libraries, Shoalhaven Libraries, Libraries Tasmania, Leongatha Community House, Beverly Hills Girls High School, St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, All Saints’ College.
There are several activities that can follow on from a Young Mentors program. Some suggestions are:
- Share your experiences – connect with another school in your area or with an organisation connected to older Australians and tell them about the program. Show them the promotional video and share the learning and successes captured in the Program Feedback Report.
- Leadership opportunities – on completion of the program, the students involved could become leaders for the next program, getting involved in the organisation, training and facilitating of future Young Mentors programs. Coordination of the program would be an excellent leadership opportunity for Year 12 students.
- Continue at home – Young Mentors can take the learning and skills to their own families, elderly relatives and friends.
You can direct older learners to any of the following resources to develop their skills and digital engagement:
Still have questions?
If you still have questions, you can contact us.