Singapore expands elderly tech skills schemes

20 more training centres and new workshops announced as part of digital inclusion push.

Singapore’s infocomm agency has signed two partnerships to expand opportunities for the elderly to pick up basic tech skills. The Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) has partnered with the Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and Lifelong Learning Council (LLC). This will give designated training centres access to a total of S$3 million in funding to set up set up two new schemes and recruit volunteers. Training centres will be able to set up 45 minute to 1 hour tutorials for the elderly to try social media apps, like WhatsApp, Facebook and Skype, and government apps like OneService. Another scheme is to set up informal interest groups for seniors to learn from their peers who volunteer their time. The centres receive funding for up to 90% of the project cost for the two schemes. This is capped at $50,000 if they only take part in one. In a second partnership, IDA has tied up with the People’s Association (PA) to increase the number of training locations from 10 to 30 across the island. The 20 new community clubs will offer IT courses, increasing the number of classes available annually from 800 to 2,000. This will kick in from October this year. “The new collaborations with our community partners – PA, WDA and LLC – allow us to leverage each other’s domain expertise, reach out to seniors at more locations, and curate a variety of learning activities to match their comfort levels,” said Mr Leong Keng Thai, Deputy Chief Executive, IDA. IDA has also launched a new volunteer programme to encourage people to help the elderly learn and use tech, including getting private sector organisations and government agencies to be more involved.