Young Mentors 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.
Where do I register?
Register for the program on the eSafety website.
Why do I have to register?
When you register, you will be emailed a link to the Young Mentors toolkit.
This toolkit provides program guidance, training materials and resources to run the program.
Registration allows eSafety to connect with you and share advice and updates on the program.
Find a partner
How do I find a partner?
Do some research about potential program partners in your local area. You can reach out by phone, in person or email, using our sample letter of introduction available in the toolkit.
- Schools can approach aged/residential care facilities or a local community organisation connected with older Australians. The Be Connected partner map has details of community organisations in the Be Connected Network you can contact that are already helping older Australians build confidence in the use of technology.
- Community organisations can approach and partner with a nearby school or youth group.
Are there any criteria for participating in the program?
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.
Do learners have to sign up to Be Connected?
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.
What technical or digital skills are required to participate in the program?
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.
Can I participate as an individual?
No. As there is a bit of coordination and training involved in running Young Mentors, you need to be a part of a school, aged or residential care facility or local community organisation to take part in the program.
If you are a student, parent or part of a community organisation and are interested in Young Mentors, we encourage you to share this page with your school or organisation and let them know about the program.
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.
Community organisations on the map are part of the Be Connected network, coordinated by Good Things Foundation Australia.
What are the expected costs of running the program?
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:
- Working with children checks, working with vulnerable people checks and/or police checks required for the program. Contact your relevant state or territory authority directly for information about working with children requirements before commencing your Young Mentors program.
- There may be a cost in transporting participants to and from the mentoring sessions.
Is there funding available for this program?
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.
Find out more about becoming a Be Connected Network Partner and the grants available.
How long does it take to run the program?
We suggest that you allow one term (10 weeks) to plan for the program and one term to deliver the program.
The planning includes finding a program partner, promoting the program to recruit participants, arranging transportation and facilities to run the sessions and training the young mentors. The delivery of the program involves coordinating one-hour sessions that are delivered weekly over six weeks
The program delivery timeline provides guidance on how long the program will take.
How long is the mentor training?
The program recommends that mentor training takes 3.5 hours to ensure young mentors are prepared for mentoring an older person.
Who delivers the mentor training?
The mentor training could be delivered by the coordinator, partner or by someone they both agree would be appropriate for the role.
What technology/devices are used in the program?
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.
How many mentoring sessions are there in the program?
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.
How long are the mentoring sessions?
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.
Do the mentoring sessions occur during or after school hours?
There is no specified time to run the mentoring sessions. The coordinator, along with their program partner, will determine the best time for both organisations to run the sessions.
Surveys and program report
What surveys are conducted and how is information captured?
eSafety will provide you with program surveys that your participants can complete during the last session of the program. These surveys are anonymous and gather feedback to help evaluate and improve the program.
Contact eSafety when you are ready to start your program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to request surveys for your program. We will send you survey links/QR codes and provide you with a program feedback report with aggregated results on completion of the program.
What is the program feedback report?
The program feedback report is developed using the participant survey results and provides a summary of participant feedback.
Let eSafety know when your participants have completed the program surveys and you want to request a program report by emailing email@example.com. Allow two working days for your program report.
Celebrations and certificates
What certificates are provided in the program?
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 Young Mentors 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.
Can we celebrate the end of the program?
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.
What safety aspects are covered in the program?
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 followed to ensure safe practices are in place for the program.
What approach has been used to develop this program?
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 time 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.
Where to next?
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.