This awful Covid 19 pandemic has caused and continues to create havoc and unimaginable pain for so many.

As the UK went into lockdown and restrictions on our movements became apparent, it became increasingly important for us all to be online. Rapidly companies who habitually frowned on flexible working, (a lack of trust methinks), embraced remote working as if it were their idea all along.

But as technology raced forward, it seems that that a certain portion of the population was deemed to be far behind, namely those over a certain age.  Now, while I am not denying that digital divides certainly exist, it is a simplistic notion to think that this issue is only age-specific.  In my view, it is commonly related to income differentials, one’s geographical location and most importantly a lack of training.  Let’s not forget that computers and mobile phones are still expensive consumer items,  which not everyone can afford or use effectively.

With all this in mind, l recall a simple exchange I had some time ago with one of my Striped Sisters.  It went something like this.

Striped Sister 1: ‘Hey Striped Sister – what training did you have on Word?’

Me: ‘I’ve never had training on Word’.

Striped Sister 1: ‘Right….’

As with so many conversations with my Sister community, a short chat led to a much bigger conversation.  So here goes.

If we are the generation who work on Word, ExCel, Teams, DropBox, and all those cloud applications without any formal training doesn’t that make us some kind of superheroes? Think about it!  We didn’t have IT lessons in school, many of us learnt to type on manual typewriters (so de-rigeur these days) and yet we operate in organisations, where, all too often, training consists of rapid-fire tech demos accompanied by that all too familiar ‘all you have to do is just…’ school of thought.

This is exactly the type of retort I would like to proffer when asked by numerous banks when I am asked, presumably because of the colour of my hair and the fact that my face is not baby-faced smooth, if I have an email account.  Invariably this question is accompanied by a head tilt and a sympathetic smile, the assumption being that digital banking is somehow beyond me.

Now I’m not knocking bank staff, many of whom have been polite, helpful and great problem solvers over the years, but what I am talking about is this assumption that the over 50s don’t like technology or don’t have an understanding of how it works.

It may be that my reflexes are slower, and that my typos are many but it doesn’t mean that I don’t like learning and that I don’t want to engage with technology.  After all, most over 50s are in the workplace which means they deal with technology every day of the week.

So this comes back to my main point which is training. Organisations and institutions that invest in training and encourage anyone, whatever their age or personal situation to engage with technology, are sure to benefit from this investment, which will inevitably mean that not only will we all ride those technology waves, but in the process actually enjoy doing so.

© stripedsisters 2020




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