Our Association now has 155 members and we are very involved in developing and expanding our events and activities for all members.
In October last year, we completed a survey of our members which clearly identified a need for upskilling in all areas of digital communications. This prompted us to investigate the training and development options available to deal with this problem.
In December 2020, YARA, in collaboration with Bru na Si, the local branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, were awarded a combined grant of €6,000 from the Comic Relief Fund. This was issued through the Community Foundation for Ireland to encourage and train members of both organisations in the use of digital communications.
The project identified the increasing importance of digital communications in all our daily lives and the realisation that many members of YARA were unable to use basic digital communications technology. The lockdown really emphasised this problem, and for many members, it increased their sense of isolation.
Similarly, younger members of Bru na Si suffered isolation as they were unable to attend music sessions and started using Zoom and YouTube to share and develop their musical skills.
The funded project is called “Og agus Aosta” and focuses on providing digital technology and collaborative digital training skills for younger members of Brú Na Sí and older members of YARA.
This includes the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and PCs.
As part of our joint application for the grant, these young members of Brú Na Sí will become mentors to the older members of YARA.
The key objectives of the project are as follows:
- Set up an LMS (Learning Management System) to provide digital training modules for both organisations
- Develop learning modules for the trainees in Brú Na Sí and the members of YARA
- Develop and deliver face to face customised training courses for YARA members
- Establish a programme where the younger members of Brú Na Sí will mentor the older members of YARA in the use of digital technology
We have now agreed on a Digital Training Programme with Age Action who have extensive experience in this area and who are providing us with one-on-one training for our members.
In this format, each person will be able to focus on the areas that are important to them.
In addition, we will have access to the LMS in Bru na Si and we will be able to upload videos of our training sessions to allow for a continuous training option.
We have 36 confirmed participants in the first phase, and we expect to have up to 35 more in the second phase.
The first phase of this programme started on September 16th and because of the volume of work, it will extend into February of next year. The second phase will then commence, for completion in June.
This project will allow us to provide training and support in the use of digital technology for up to 70 of our members.
Through the LMS, we will also create a platform for continuous training into the future.
We will also include regular digital training as part of our range of activities to help members stay abreast of developments in technology.