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Computing students teach 'silver surfers'

Published on: 28/11/2016 (12:00AM)

Silver Surfers

Student Michael Ndebele shares tips with U3A member Maureen Wade.

A training project run by university-level computing students at Central is helping older people to become more confident using technology.

HND Computing students at our Beeston Centre have been running workshops on internet safety and the use of mobile apps. The first sessions on ‘how to stay safe on the internet’ and ‘Android tips and tricks’ saw 20 members of the University of the Third Age (U3A) Beeston group come in to attend presentations and take part in interactive training sessions in October. It was so successful that a second session was held on 16 November, with more now in the pipeline.

U3A is an organisation that brings retired and semi-retired people together to enhance their lives by sharing many educational, creative and leisure activities.

Maureen Wade says she is 66 going on 30. The West Bridgford resident brought her own tablet to the second workshop hoping to pick up some tips. She said: “It’s a privilege really to come and do this: you never stop learning and it’s good to learn some new tricks.  I like meeting the younger generation, I’ll never be old!”

Some of the participants were very new to computers or using the internet, so students learned to see things from a customer’s point of view and explain concepts from scratch. Other visitors came along to update their skills after having used computers for many years in their working lives, but wanting to keep up with the increasingly fast-paced world of technology today.

 Computing student Michael Ndebele, who is from Gedling, explained that this was his first ever experience of speaking to a group of older people. The 19-year-old said: “The people in the group have so much life experience, yet we’re trying to teach them, so it’s quite different! It will help me be more confident speaking in public and I think this will definitely help in my career.”

Working with Central to offer these sessions for our members has been great, as they wanted an opportunity to hone their computer skills. Older people haven’t grown up with all this technology, so some may need quite a bit of guidance, with others benefiting from updating their knowledge even though they are regular computer users.

- Steve Austin, Publicity Officer for U3A Beeston

Working collaboratively with industry and the local community helps us ensure that our students leave Central with valuable skills for their future career alongside a recognised qualification.

- Jeannette Mortimer, Head of School for Creative and Enterprise at Central

We will be extending the programme after Christmas to include students from our Level 2 and 3 further education courses. Staff will map the students’ skills sets and experience against U3A members’ needs to offer more tailored support on specific IT topics.

For more information about computing courses at Central, visit or call 0115 914 6414.

For more information about U3A visit