SDO will expand community outreach and engagement with more seniors at their workplace through SDO@Workplace and roving community counters
More than 100,000 seniors have benefited from digital skills training conducted by the SG Digital Office (SDO). The learning impacted has been highly effective, with nine in ten continuing to apply the skills learnt, including using their smartphone for video calls, accessing government digital services and making e-payments, in their daily life.
The SDO was established under the Infocomm Media Development Authority (“IMDA”) in June 2020 as part of the Government’s concerted push to build a digitally inclusive society for Singapore, and ensure that all Singaporeans are empowered through digital for life. SDO supports the less digitally savvy in the community, through high touch engagement to adopt digital tools, skills and habits, to thrive in the digital future.
SDO, which has conducted more than 250,000 training sessions for seniors to date, has also engaged 18,000 stallholders to help them kick-start their digital journey by adopting digital tools such as the unified e-payment solution. More than 60% of Singapore’s stallholders have adopted the solution, and stall transaction volume and e-payment value has continued to grow. The number of transactions for the past 12 months to July 2021 was 1.8 million, compared to 270,000 over the same period the year before. Transaction value grew to $17.3 million, compared to $2.9 million over the same period the year before.
Minister for Communications and Information, Mrs Josephine Teo, gave the update on SDO’s engagement efforts at an outreach event at its new SG Digital community hub at Jurong Spring community club (JSCC) to mark SDO’s one-year anniversary.
Mrs Teo said, “We want digitalisation to benefit everyone. That includes seniors and groups like hawkers. Using digital tools may not come naturally to them but the Government is here to help. It is why we set up the SG Digital Office last year and kickstarted the Digital for Life movement this year. Both initiatives have made good headway in a fairly short time.”
She added: “With the experience gained, we will broaden and deepen the work of SDO. Through the Mobile Access for Seniors scheme, lower-income seniors will enjoy two, instead of one-year of subsidised mobile plan. From seniors in the community, we will expand outreach to seniors at workplaces and other vulnerable groups such as the hearing-impaired. From digital literacy, we are striving for digital competency. We are roping in more corporate and community partners, so that Singapore’s digital future can be truly inclusive.”
At the event, Mrs Teo presented a token of appreciation to the 100,000th senior to pick up digital skills. Mrs Teo, who also interacted with seniors, Digital Ambassadors (DA), and Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors (SIWA), and hawkers at the nearby Jurong West Market and Food Centre, also announced plans to expand SDO’s community efforts such as outreach at workplaces and enhance the curriculum to ensure it remains relevant to the evolving environment to support our seniors to go digital.
Broadening and deepening SDO’s efforts
Building on its current efforts, SDO is now working to broaden and deepen its efforts so as to reach out to more stakeholders and customise its services to better meet their varied needs. These include:
- Enhanced mobile access scheme for seniors: Under the Mobile Access for Seniors scheme introduced in June 2020, lower-income seniors get access to a subsidised smartphone and mobile plan for 1 year. This means that they can purchase a phone starting from $20 and pay $5 per month for a 1-year mobile plan. More than 7,900 low-income seniors have benefitted from the scheme since it started.IMDA has since enhanced the scheme, extending the subsidised mobile plan for seniors from 1 year to 2 years. This means that seniors who sign up for the plan from 1 June 2021 will enjoy the subsidised rate of $5 per month for mobile plan for two years up from one year. Those who have signed up between July 2020 and May 2021 will automatically receive the extension.
- Expanding efforts to reach out to more seniors and other vulnerable groups: To expand SDO’s existing outreach efforts to seniors, SDO will set up more than 200 roving community counters to bring its services even closer to seniors in the community. This is on top of its 47 community hubs presently.SDO is now also partnering employers to go into the workplaces to train senior employees. Under the new SDO@Workplace engagement channel, employers will set aside time and space to train senior employees using the Seniors Go Digital curriculum, so as to enable their senior workers to remain relevant in an increasingly digital workplace. SDO has successfully piloted the SDO@Workplace at YCH’s Supply Chain City (SCC) headquarters at the Jurong Innovation District in August 2021. SDO will look at rolling this out to more workplaces progressively.SDO will also provide services customised to the needs of specific community segments, such as seniors who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. In partnership with the Singapore Association for the Deaf (SADeaf) and TOUCH Silent Club, SDO held 80 one-on-one learning sessions since March this year to equip this target group with basic digital skills, benefiting 47 seniors.
- Beyond basic digital literacy to achieving greater competency: SDO has also strengthened its Seniors Go Digital curriculum to make learning more comprehensive and enable seniors to be more confident in using an even wider range of digital tools relevant to their daily lives. For example, SDO will equip seniors with knowledge on the use of health-related apps such as HealthHub and Healthy 365 to enable seniors to access their medical records and appointments and encourage them to adopt a healthier and more meaningful lifestyle. Through the SG Cyber Safe Seniors Programme, SDO will help raise seniors’ awareness on cybersecurity and good cyber hygiene practices.Silver Infocomm Wellness Ambassadors (SIWA - who themselves are role models of digital competency - and can better relate to the needs of their fellow seniors, will be deployed at SG Digital community hubs to help seniors who need assistance in learning. Currently, SIWAs have been involved in a pilot as volunteer DAs in nine SG Digital community hubs.