BT Group partners with AbilityNet to help improve digital skills among older people

  • The new programme will address the digital divide among people aged 65+ in the UK, one in four of whom lack the skills to use the internet independently*
  • The programme is aiming to improve the digital skills of 4,000 people aged 65+ in 2023
  • The partnership will deliver more than 1,000 group and 1:1 training sessions in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, London and the South Coast

Wednesday 26th April 2023; London, UK: BT Group has announced a new partnership with the charity AbilityNet to help improve the digital skills of 4,000 older and digitally excluded people across the UK in 2023.

The partnership will run a UK-wide ‘Senior Skills Programme’ that will deliver more than 1,000 group and one-to-one training sessions to those who need it most in regions across the UK.

Sessions will be available in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and London. The locations were chosen based on a growing demand for tech support among older people aged 65+ in these areas.

BT Group’s own research** shows that two thirds (65%) of older people think that you’re never too old to learn new skills, with almost half (49%) open to learning tech skills specifically.

Basic digital skills have now become an almost essential requirement for day-to-day life. Older people who are without digital skills risk losing access to key services like banking, shopping and health services, as well as communications platforms that keep people connected.

Victoria Johnson, Social Impact Director at BT Group, said: “Digital inclusion is about making sure everyone has access to the benefits that technology offers.  This new partnership with AbilityNet, and the Senior Skills programme we are creating together, seeks to dispel the mystery of tech, build confidence and awareness of misinformation, and help make a digital native out of everyone in the UK, whatever their age.”

“BT Group is committed to supporting the older generation as they adapt to using digital tools and technology. The partnership with AbiltyNet will help reach our goal of an inclusive digital future for all.”

Sarah Brain, Free Services Manager at AbilityNet, said: “Our vision at AbilityNet is to create a digital world which is accessible to everyone We’ve been helping older people and disabled people of any age with their technology for 25 years.

“The partnership with BT Group will help meet our goal to support the digitally excluded in building their confidence online and diversifying their skill set, helping people across the UK to live more independent and fulfilled lives.”

The Senior Skills programme will also work to get older and digitally excluded people online to understand and use basic services and aiding them in the switch from analogue to digital home phones.

The training will be available in person and through online resources with the aim of helping participants become more independent and able to manage day-to-day digital tasks.

40 volunteers from BT Group will help deliver the programme​. The partnership will also encourage people struggling in terms of digital skills to call a free helpline.



* Centre for Ageing Better: https://ageing-better.org.uk/communities-state-ageing-2022

** Research carried out by OnePoll in October 2022 of 1500 over 60s in the UK

About BT Group

BT Group is the UK’s leading provider of fixed and mobile telecommunications and related secure digital products, solutions and services. We also provide managed telecommunications, security and network and IT infrastructure services to customers across 180 countries.

BT Group consists of three customer-facing units: Consumer serves individuals and families in the UK; Business* covers companies and public services in the UK and internationally; Openreach is an independently governed, wholly owned subsidiary wholesaling fixed access infrastructure services to its customers - over 650 communication providers across the UK.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about

*Business was formed on 1 January 2023 from the combination of the former Enterprise and Global units.  It commenced reporting as a single unit from 1 April 2023, with pro forma reporting information to be produced ahead of BT Group’s Q1 FY24 results.