Social Upskilling

Val is a pensioner and a carer/guardian for her adult son who has a disability. She lives with her husband and her son in the beautiful Hunter Valley Region.

Val and her family relocated to the Hunter some 20 years ago from Sydney. Although she was happy to leave the hustle bustle of city life, she has since at times felt she is living a very isolated existence. Since moving she has had minimal contact with her family who live interstate and has not developed new social connections and friendship circles. She felt “frustrated” with her inability to access the internet to connect with her family and friends around the country.

While Val had access to a laptop, she did not have access to the internet and lacked the skills to use it. She often talked about her passion for music and her desire to be able to download and listen to her favorite music and learn how to surf the net to break the isolation. It was these challenges and aspirations that prompted Val to make contact with Ability Links.

Val discussed the various options regarding internet service providers, and basic computer skills and internet navigation skills training with her linker. She liked the idea of having a mobile broadband internet connection for her laptop, and she was also keen to attend a basic computer course. Together with her linker, Val explored a range of internet plans from a range of providers for comparison. She also explored the provided list of computer tutors who offer free one-on-one computer courses.

Together with her linker Val went into a telecommunication provider shop and was supported in choosing an internet plan that suited her needs. Her internet was set up and she was able to take her own laptop to the computer course learning how to access the internet, send and receive emails, operate a personal computer.

Val is continuing to gain proficiency in using the computer and now teaching her husband how to navigate the internet. She is enjoying re-connecting with family members and catching up with long-lost friends, as well as finding and listening to her favourite music.

Val said she feels good about being able to satisfy her need to belong, and the opportunity to gain new skills.