Case Study: George Town Online Access Centre

Neil Braithwaite left and Peter Parkes right

That Light Bulb moment…

Read Neil’s Broadband for Seniors story as told by Peter Parkes, Manager of the George Town Online Access Centre’s Broadband for Seniors kiosk.

Neil is a retired coating inspector from mainland Australia who now lives in George Town, Tasmania. When I first met Neil, a well-spoken gentleman some 2 years ago, he wasn’t really sure if he even wanted a computer, in-fact he seemed quite against the idea and protested about their worth and need. But the fact that he had come to the centre suggested to me that he was curious!

I spoke to Neil in general terms at our first meeting, talking about what he might gain from stepping into the digital world. I asked about his hobbies hoping to create a connection for him. I showed Neil several websites of interest and watched his enthusiasm grow. Clearly, this was Neil’s light bulb moment. It really was a privilege to see Neil so engrossed with ‘what could be’ on the net.

After probably an hour Neil said “I think I better sign up for a beginner’s course!”

Each time Neil came to the kiosk, he opened up more and more, offering insights into his own experiences and seeking to learn everything possible to enable him to accomplish his new found goals. The beginners classes certainly weren’t the first and last for Neil, he had now gained a huge thirst for ‘more’ taking part in all of our in-house courses.

But it didn’t end there! Neil offered to start volunteering, helping others who were just starting out and mentoring them on the benefits of being connected and involved. The social side of computing certainly garnered an attraction for Neil and meeting others at the centre noticeably lifted his spirits. Neil also formalised his qualifications with a Certificate in I.T. from the Tasmanian Polytechnic through their E-learn program which is facilitated by us.

So what’s Neil doing now? Well he has turned into an official ‘Geek’ with gaming computers for his flight and rail simulators, skyping with mainland friends and sending far too many joke emails! Neil is currently waiting to be connected to the NBN at home as he has wet his appetite at the centre using our NBN connected Broadband for Seniors computers.

The NBN is much more than just faster Internet, with opportunities for home e-health, entertainment, social networking and work - it really is a game changer. Just to buck the trend (if there ever was one) we are seeing more and more seniors embrace computing as a tool for better life choice opportunities, and keeping in touch.

We have many seniors who use the centre’s Broadband for Seniors kiosk and many stories to tell just like Neil’s. It truly is an honour and privilege to help our community members grow and reach their goals, and boy what a buzz!

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