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Frequently asked questions

Be Connected Young Mentors program

Read our FAQs to find out more about the Be Connected Young Mentors program.

Registration

Please register to get started in the Be Connected Young Mentors program.

On registration you will be provided with a link to the Program Tool Kit with all suggested timelines, guidance, promotional resources, templates and training materials needed to run a successful Be Connected Young Mentors program. By registering, you will also be able to generate a Program Feedback Report highlighting feedback from all participants.

Find a partner

School Coordinators will need to approach and partner with a local community organisation connected with older Australians or an aged/residential care facility.

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 will need to 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.

Participation

Be Connected Young Mentors is an inclusive program for all high school students and Australians over 50. 

The program is intended for older Australians who have little to no digital literacy. 

The program is aimed at high school students, particularly from Years 9 upwards, but does not exclude Years 7 and 8. Students in Years 9 and upwards are expected to have better communications skills, a more mature approach and emotional intelligence, and a clearer understanding of what it means to be safe online.

No. Older mentees participating in the Be Connected Young Mentors program do not have to sign up to Be Connected. This mentoring program is based on the needs of the older mentee and is not prescriptive. Young mentors will be made aware of the Be Connected site in their mentor training and may go to the site for resources if it helps with their mentoring.

The program is intended for older Australians who have little to no digital literacy, that is:

  • Non-existent digital literacy skills suggest the older Australian is not using devices and is not online at all.
  • Low or basic digital literacy skills suggest the older Australian is using a device or is online a few times a month.
  • Intermediate digital literacy skills suggest the older Australian is regularly using at least one device and is online most weeks.
  • Advanced digital literacy skills suggest the older Australian is familiar with more than one device, uses those devices regularly, and is online multiple times a week.

The Be Connected Young Mentors program is not suitable for older Australians with advanced skills.

Costs

There may be some costs to consider in running the Be Connected Young Mentors program:

  • All adults involved in training and facilitating the mentoring sessions, or driving young mentors to the mentoring session venue, must have a Working With Children Check.
  • There may be a cost in transporting the young mentors or older mentees to and from the mentoring sessions.
  • There are several resources that can be used as promotional material, for training, and as handouts for young mentors and mentees. There may be a cost to print out these resources.
  • At the end of the program, at the final mentoring session, you may wish to close the program with a morning or afternoon tea. You would need to consider the costs of catering for that event.

The resource time required to run the program is very much dependent on the experience of the organisation. Once registered, the coordinator will receive a link to all resources to help them and their chosen partner run the program. 

One of the resources provided is a Program Timeline Template that 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: beconnectedmentors@esafety.gov.au

Be Connected is an Australia-wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. The Be Connected program comprises 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 to help you run programs like Be Connected Young Mentors.

Planning

The Program Timeline Template is a suggested timeline of activities to deliver the five steps of the Be Connected Young Mentors program: 1) Register, 2) Find a Partner, 3) Promote the program, 4) Train the young mentors and 5) Supervise the mentoring sessions.

Each activity highlights who is responsible for delivery of the activity. In most cases there is flexibility around whether the coordinator or partner is responsible for the activity.

The coordinator and partner should meet to agree on responsibilities.

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: beconnectedmentors@esafety.gov.au

The Program Timeline Template suggests that planning (registering, finding a partner and promoting the program) may take 10 weeks, i.e. a whole school term. The timeline then suggests that mentor training and facilitating the mentoring sessions will take 9 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 for both organisations to run the program.

Some things to note when deciding when to run the program:

  • The Program Timeline Template suggests that planning (registering, finding a partner and promoting the program) may take 10 weeks, i.e. a whole school term. The timeline then suggests that mentor training and facilitating the mentoring sessions will take 9 weeks. This suggests one term to plan, and one term to deliver the program.
  • Term 4 is often a very busy period for schools, the same being true for organisations connected with older Australians.
  • Learning in the mornings can often be best for older Australians.

Mentor training

The program recommends that mentor training takes 3.5 hours not including breaks.

3.5 hours is a guideline and there is flexibility in what topics the coordinator and their chosen partner consider to be most important.

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 program recommends that mentor training takes 3.5 hours and is done on the one day. 3.5 hours on the same day is a guideline and there is flexibility to run the training across two consecutive days. The training builds from one topic to the next and is very interactive, involving discussions, short YouTube movies and activities including role play.

After registration the coordinator and their chosen partner will meet to run through the Program Timeline Template which includes determining who will deliver 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.

On registration, the coordinator is provided with a link to the program tool kit which includes a Trainer’s Guide. This easy-to-use Trainer’s Guide takes the trainer through each step of the session and can be used by someone who has never trained or presented before.

Mentoring sessions

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 mentees 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 Be Connected Young Mentors program is based on the needs of the older mentee and is not prescriptive. The mentoring sessions are completely flexible based on what the older mentee wants to learn.

The program suggests weekly, one-hour mentoring sessions over a period of six weeks. Six weeks is a guideline and there is flexibility in how many sessions a coordinator and their chosen partner may run.

As an intergenerational mentoring program, the intent is not only to enable essential digital learning for older Australians, but to facilitate the cross-generational connection between young and old; to break down stereotypes and to encourage the growth and development of both young and old through this interaction. The regular coming together of young mentor and older mentee over several weeks will not only build on digital skills learned but will foster a deeper sense of community for both parties.

The program suggests one hour for each mentoring session. One hour is a guideline and there is flexibility in how long a mentoring session may be. One hour gives participants time to settle in to the session, review learnings from the previous week, set new goals, and continue to build on skills learned.

Things to consider when setting the length of a mentoring session are:

  • time the young mentors can spend, given other school commitments
  • attention span of young mentors and older mentees
  • availability of venue.

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 with the intent of capturing feedback from participants to enable evaluation of Be Connected Young Mentors and ensure continuous improvement of the program. The surveys completed by mentors and mentees are anonymous and are aggregated to populate the program feedback report.

A program feedback report can be generated by the registered coordinator of a Be Connected Young Mentors program. The report is populated from the following information which is captured at registration and via surveys:

  • Initial registration by coordinator
  • Pre-program Mentor Survey, completed by each mentor in the young mentor training
  • Post-program Mentor Survey, completed by each young mentor at the last mentoring session
  • Post-program Mentee Survey, completed by each older mentee at the last mentoring session
  • Post-program Coordinator Survey, completed by the coordinator after the last mentoring session.

Note: The coordinator may delegate the completion of this survey to someone else who has had close involvement in the program if the coordinator themselves was not closely involved. It must be noted, however, that the results of this survey will appear in the Program Feedback Report as ‘coordinator’ feedback.

Celebrations and certificates

Certificate templates are provided for the following:

  • Young Mentor — completion of mentor training
  • Young Mentor — completion of mentoring sessions
  • Older Mentee — 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.

There is no specified way to present certificates. The coordinator and their partner will determine what certificates they want to present and who should present them.

Some suggestions for the presentation of certificates might be:

  • Completion of Mentor Training Certificate could be presented at end of Young Mentor training by the Trainer, or at a school assembly.
  • Completion of Mentoring Sessions Certificate (for mentors and mentees) could be presented by the mentors to the mentees at the last session, and by the mentees to the mentors. Mentors could also be presented with this certificate at a school assembly.
  • Partnership Certificates (on completion of program) could be presented at school assembly with partner present, or at an organisation connected with older Australians with the school representative(s) in attendance.

The program does not specify that a morning or afternoon tea must be held.

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.

Safety

A checklist is provided to ensure all safety aspects are considered, such as:

  • Working With Children Checks
  • 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.

Our approach

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 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 Be Connected Young Mentors program. Some suggestions are:

  • Become an Ambassador — 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 (link to be provided after the pilot) and share the learning and successes captured in the Program Feedback Report. Becoming an Ambassador can open more doors to wider community engagement. If you are interested in becoming an Ambassador for the program contact beconnectedmentors@esafety.gov.au
  • Build on the learning — Work with your coordinator/partner to create a joint program between the young mentors and older mentees. For example, with the new digital skills the mentees have learned, perhaps everyone could make a film together.
  • Leadership opportunities — on completion of a Be Connected Young Mentors program, the young students involved could become leaders for the next program, getting involved in the organisation, training and facilitating of future Be Connected 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.

There are also many other digital literacy programs running across the nation. You can direct mentees to any of the following resources to further develop their skills and digital engagement:

There are also many programs run out of libraries, here are just a few:

  • Tech help
  • Book a Librarian
  • Tech Wise buddies

Still have questions?

If you still have questions, contact us