Be technology savvy

Harcourt's Paul Mizzi is one of the digital technology mentors helping others overcome their IT shortcomings through the free Be Connected program now being offered through Castlemaine Community House.

A free mentorship program being offered in Castlemaine and surrounds aims to take the fear factor out of using digital technology for those lacking confidence in the digital communications space.
With communication technology assuming greater importance than ever during the pandemic, the Be Connected digital mentorship program aims to ensure nobody – particularly older residents – slips through the cracks when it comes to staying connected.
“We’ll cover things like downloading apps, using smart phones, using Microsoft Office, Google Docs and video conferencing including Zoom,” says mentor with the program, Harcourt-based Paul Mizzi.
Starting now the free program is being delivered through local neighbourhood or community houses at Castlemaine, Maldon and Kyneton with volunteer mentors like Paul providing patient one-on-one guidance for those who feel they need it.
“It’s a program where volunteers assist older people with any digital technology issues they might have,” Castlemaine Community House’s Kez Jennings says.
“It’s particularly about helping them to get online and feel confident in this space.”
“We had planned to start offering one-to-one sessions at the Community House, but are moving all the support to being provided either via phone or Zoom,” Kez says.
“We feel that this program is particularly important right now, to assist older people to stay connected with friends, family and services.”
Sessions offered through Castlemaine Community House will take place every Thursday between 1-3pm with those keen to secure a spot able to book through the community house.
Paul Mizzi brings significant information technology expertise and background to his mentoring role.
“To use technology effectively you don’t need to be brilliant at it,” he says.
“You just need to know how to use it as a tool.”
Ultimately, when coronavirus restrictions lift, it’s expected in-person mentoring sessions will be able to be offered at the community house.
Kez Jennings says more volunteer mentors would be very welcome and is inviting particularly younger people to volunteer their digital technology skills and become a mentor with the program. To do so, they’re being encouraged to contact the Community House.