24 March 2013

Singapore, 24 March 2013 – Today, StarHub unveiled its Golden Gurus—eight tech-savvy senior citizens aged between 58 and 77, who will be information technology (IT) champions for their peers. These Golden Gurus will be StarHub’s ambassadors, giving back to society by imparting IT knowledge to other seniors.

StarHub's Golden Gurus programme is in line with the promotion of Active Ageing in Singapore, and is supported by Council for Third Age (C3A) and RSVP ProGuide, a social enterprise company formed by RSVP which is a non-profit organisation for senior volunteers.

“Technology is advancing at an ever-increasing pace, creating a wider digital gulf between the many elderly and the rest of the population,” revealed Mr Tan Tong Hai, Chief Executive Officer, StarHub. “The Golden Gurus is an IT empowerment and education programme by seniors for seniors. It embodies StarHub’s aim to help the elderly bridge the digital divide so as to maintain closer relationships with their loved ones and stay connected to the community.

“According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, 18.7% of Singapore’s population in 2030 will be aged 65 years and above,” shared Mr Tan. “Helping those in their golden years use technology will improve their access to emerging services such as remote healthcare management and telemedicine. StarHub’s Golden Gurus would be empowering other senior citizens to learn about and benefit from greater connectivity, such as accessing online services offered by government agencies, banks and other entities. We want to include senior citizens in the online community through the power of social media.”

From over 160 applicants, StarHub narrowed the number of candidates down to 30 based on their experience, knowledge and exposure to IT and social media. Those shortlisted were then invited to an interactive session, where they were assessed on their knowledge and interpersonal skills through a series of fun-filled activities which tested their social media and technological knowledge. The potential gurus were also interviewed to gauge their communication skills.

“Our moderators had a really tough time selecting from the expert playing field,” revealed Mr Tan. “For instance, Dora’s genuine happiness in introducing IT to other senior citizens really shone through. The moderators were so impressed that they selected eight Golden Gurus, instead of five as originally planned!”

Another true IT advocate is Mr Low Lam Piew, 67, who uses IT to listen to music, watch videos, correspond with family and friends over long distances through emails and video calls, read the news, listen to audio books, make payments, buy air tickets, book hotel stays, round up long-lost schoolmates and more!

The rest of the eight Golden Gurus are Mr Abdul Rahman Zamawi, 58; Ms Ong Hwee Kheng, 59; Mr Tan Soo Liang, 59; Mr Danny Wee Chwee Hock, 61; Ms Dora Lim Jeck Kiau, 66; Mr Ham Peng Kuang, 66; and Mr Sam Liu Chien Chien, 77.

After exclusive training from StarHub and RSVP ProGuide, the Golden Gurus will become co-trainers, imparting their technological abilities at community workshops organised by StarHub and conducted by RSVP ProGuide. Showcasing and leveraging on lifestyle topics that will appeal to senior citizens, the workshops are set to be far more engaging than one’s typical computer class.

The Golden Gurus will be sharing their knowledge with other senior citizens via blogs, a dedicated Facebook application within StarHub’s Facebook page and a dedicated page in the StarHub Community on StarHub’s website at www.starhub.com.

"StarHub’s Golden Gurus will also have the opportunity to interact with industry professionals and upgrade their own skills," added Mr Tan. "Besides that, they will also enjoy exclusive Golden Guru perks from StarHub, including a free mobile device worth up to $1,000 and exclusive invitations to StarHub events."

StarHub's Golden Gurus are supported by Council for Third Age, who will assist in promoting the programme through the C3A portal (www.c3a.org.sg), and RSVP ProGuide, who will help train the Golden Gurus and run the community workshops for senior citizens who may be interested in acquiring IT skills.

“This programme enforces C3A’s lifelong learning focus area, which is a key part to ageing well. This also encourages use of online tools such as our C3A portal that makes access to information easier and to help seniors in getting socially connected. More importantly learning in a group environment helps the seniors build close friendships with other seniors and expand their group of friends," said Ms Soh Swee Ping, Chief Executive Officer, Council for Third Age.

"We are most happy to be a part of this meaningful project initiated by StarHub and supported by C3A and our training and consulting unit RSVP ProGuide. It is really good to see so many senior enthusiasts participating actively and to train others at it.  RSVP promotes active aging and our members themselves are senior citizens too. Many of them are also active IT and technology users who continue to upgrade themselves actively. ProGuide has also attracted a good pool of senior professionals who are keen to continue sharing their wealth of experience, varied expertise and skills to help enterprises. This is of growing importance as Singapore faces a shortage of talents," stated Mr Koh Juay Meng, President, RSVP.

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