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Blue mountains at Katoomba


The Katoomba Men’s Shed is a not for profit community organisation affiliated with Australian Men’s Shed Association. It aims to promote the health and well being of men, and provides an opportunity for men to share time together,  swap yarns and work together on community projects.

The Men's Shed movement began in Australia in the 1990s. There were concerns about men's health, but there was little encouragement in Australian culture for men to meet and talk over their issues. However, men were comfortable with the concept of the backyard shed, where many would go on a regular basis to potter about and work on projects. So the concept was born of a community-based shed as a place where men could go to meet other men, socilise and work on projects.

Broadband for Seniors tutor

Broadband for Seniors (BFS) is funded by the Australian Government to provide senior Australians, aged 50 years and over, with free access to computers, Internet and basic training to help build their confidence in using new technology. Katoomba Men's Shed is a 'kiosk' for this initiative, which means it has computers available for people to use and provides free training and support for people undergoing the program.

BFS relies on tutors, who are people with enough computer knowledge to help others.

Pre-requisite knowledge for tutors

As a minimum, a tutor should be able to carry out the following basic functions: 

  • Know how to turn a computer on and off 
  • Know how to use a keyboard and mouse 
  • Know how to open applications, navigate around application menus and use application features 
  • Know how to open Internet Explorer and use the Internet 
  • Know how to set-up and send e-mails using Gmail or similar applications 
  • Know how to locate WordPad in the Windows operating system and construct a letter 

The Broadband for Seniors project only requires demonstrating the use of the Internet Explorer and WordPad applications available in the Windows Vista operating system supplied with the Broadband for Seniors computers. Therefore, tutors are not required to be proficient with other applications, such as, Microsoft Office Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc as these are not provided with the kiosk. 

The Sun Open Office system is installed on the kiosk computers and is available to all Kiosk Users but training on this suite of software does not form a part of the project. It is being presented as an example of free software which a senior can source if they later purchase their own computer for home. 

As kiosk users become proficient in using the kiosk computers, tutors may wish to extend training to cover more advanced applications. No additional applications are provided by the project and sites would have to supply (at their own cost) and install any additional software.

Tutor responsibilities

It is recognised and appreciated that you as a volunteer tutor are giving your time freely to support this project. However, because this is a federally funded project, there are some conditions which must be adhered to. 

  • You cannot participate in this project if you have been prohibited from being employed or engaged where you may have contact with vulnerable people. If this is the case, you must withdraw your offer to volunteer as a tutor. 
  • Because you will be tutoring senior Australians and possibly vulnerable people, you may need to submit to a police check.
  • You must agree to comply with the Privacy Act, Racial Discrimination Act, Sex Discrimination Act and Disability Discrimination Act.

  • You may be invited to run both individual and group lessons. iosk Reports.

  • You need to ask students to complete the voluntary surveys that are part of the program.

What you will and will not teach

  • Mouse operation
  • General Keyboard skills. 
  • The use of the WordPad word processing application.
  • Internet access using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). Ensure that users are able to navigate easily around IE’s menus, demonstrate how web addresses are entered (and recalled later) and how to create Bookmark Folders and add Bookmarks. 
  • Internet browsing using Microsoft Internet Explorer and the Google search engine. As well as functions shown in the supplied manuals, help students become familiar with setting their browsing preferences and how to enter search queries into the Google search box. 
  • How to use Gmail using IE and Google. You will have to assist users in setting up their own Gmail account and how to compose mail (with and without attachments). If there are problems experienced in setting up Gmail accounts, tutors may like to investigate some other ‘freemail’ systems (Hotmail/LiveMail, Yahoo Mail, etc). 
  • Internet Safety. Seniors should be made familiar of the possible ‘dangers’ that may be encountered when surfing the internet and the types of sites that should be avoided.

Volunteer tutors should never place themselves in a position where they may have access to the student's private and personal information or, data such as bank account and credit card details. 

It is a project directive that you are NOT to teach the following:

  • Internet Banking 
  • Online Shopping 
  • Any other activity where there would be a need for an individual to disclose any form of personal or financial information 


There are two training documents to support you. One is an outline for a two-day trining program and the other is intended as a handout for the students.

You also have access to online professional development sessions that are conducted monthly.




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