Ken has been volunteering in computer training and digital inclusion with Age UK Camden since November 2008.
How long have you been volunteering?
How long have you volunteered with Age UK Camden?
I've been a volunteer with Age UK Camden since November 2008.
What is the role and what does it involve?
Initially I was teaching beginners how to use a computer in Camden's libraries. The sessions were in private rooms, or, according to the particular library's facilities, on the public pre-booked computers. 'Talk softly,' an indignant member of the public would sometimes - not often -cross the room to tell us!
Now I volunteer at the Digital Inclusion drop in at Tavis House, helping more experienced users with whatever problems arise - from navigating an unfamiliar computer or supervising tasks such as downloading uptodate security.
What made you want to start volunteering?
My aim in volunteering was to teach others and gain more knowledge of computers at the same time. No one knows everything about computers and even if they did that knowledge would soon be out of date.
What do you do on a day to day basis?
My work background is in the media, both behind the scenes and in front of the camera. I still get offers, but their frequency is reduced, now that I am 'much older, but not old enough', as the saying goes in the trade.
My media skills are more and more in demand especially in libraries to lecture and give talks about computer use. Various campaigning, special interest and campaigning societies are also grateful to me for managing their promotions and publicity using computers and the internet.
Are there any challenges?
The biggest challenge in teaching computer skills, especially at the drop in, is to get to know the variety of people who use Age UK Camden. I have seen computer teachers outside Age UK Camden who know a lot, but not about people. So I concentrate on being friendly as well as knowledgeable.
I don't know how Age UK Camden do it. I'm not involved in their teacher training, but all the tutors I have met in the organisation seem to realise it's not just what you know, but whether you can and how you pass the knowledge on.
During the years, computer learners told me they gave up elsewhere and liked Age UK Camden for its understanding not just of computers but of people.