A safe place where people learn and grow,
that serves our needs and enriches our lives
in a supportive, fun and caring environment’
Ozanam House is a community resource centre run by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. It is located on the site of the original clothing and furniture warehouse in a building that has also been used by the Society for a variety of purposes for over 100 years. Since our opening in September 2002 we have continued to develop various programmes and projects aimed at addressing the issue of social exclusion as well as the many needs of the local community in Dublin’s north inner city. The centre now offers over 600 programme places to more than 500 people per week where our youngest member is 2 and our eldest is 96. We also engage 75 active volunteers who share their time and skills each week for the benefit of others.
Adult Education – Computer Training Programme
One of our biggest programmes is our computer classes. Each individual course runs for 10 weeks and each class is 1.5 hours in duration. With a maximum of 8 people per class and offering 12 different classes per week, this popular programme is offered to the entire community. It provides an opportunity for people to develop more confidence in themselves and in their skills and an improved sense of self-worth through a better understanding of computers and general IT. It also enhances peoples understanding of computers as an effective communication tool in today’s society leading to improved social Interaction and engagement through mobile technology, internet and email. Overall we aim to provide learners with new skills and with an improved and enhanced ability and confidence to engage positively in these communities.
A lot of our members can have had a negative experience of education in the past and it can be a big step for them to come back into any educational training. We therefore ensure we provide a very relaxed educational environment where their needs are at the centre of everything we do.
Overview of the Volunteer Role
One of the main aims of this programme is to assist local families and individuals in the basic and practical understanding of information technology and its value and use in today’s modern society. We offer courses to those who want to learn the basic skills and to those who have these skills but want to take them to the next level. Programmes offered range from complete introduction and beginner classes, improver levels, computer maintenance and management, mobile technology (phones, tablets), as well as internet and email focused classes.
To reach our full potential and to achieve our goals in the classes, we are constantly seeking new volunteers to share their IT skills and to teach these classes in an informal setting. Our classes are focused on the needs of the individuals who take them. We operate course content outlines for each class offering participants a guideline to what they will learn. Within these guidelines we run the classes according to the participant’s skill levels and learning abilities. Volunteers are not required to be fully qualified IT teachers as the focus is on sharing their own IT skills with participants to achieve these goals.
- Preparation of the classes according to a given course outline
- To implement and adhere to the ‘Computer Centre Policies and Procedures’
- Take class attendance on a daily basis
- Teach the computer class
- Supervise the group
- Act as a mentor and help the people with their learning goals
- Motivate and encourage the group to use their computers and mobile technology
- To attend team meetings and training days if/when possible
- To follow the policies and procedures of Ozanam House which can be found in the induction pack or in the office
- Other general responsibilities in the context of the role as agreed with the co-ordinator
The computer centre is open Monday to Friday and the classes run as follows:
- morning classes 10:30am – 12:00pm
- afternoon classes 2:30pm – 4:00pm
- evening classes 7:00pm – 8:30pm
(the exact days and times of classes you will work with will be agreed between the volunteer and the programme co-ordinator). The volunteer should commit to a minimum period of nine months. This covers 3 terms with each term lasting 10 weeks. This offers consistency to a class level and offers the volunteer the opportunity to develop that class well over this time, maximising the benefit of you as a teacher to the learners.
Other Volunteer roles
In addition, we welcome applications from potential volunteers who have specific expertise or skills which they can contribute. For example, volunteers in the past have delivered courses in desktop publishing, digital photography and mobile phone use (smart phones). Based on the skills offered we can tailor a course for a term of 10 weeks. The time commitment for these volunteers will be agreed in advance with the co-ordinator.
Skills, Experience & Qualities Required
- Willingness to share your computer and technology knowledge
- Good organizational skills
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills – vital in a supportive role
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- High motivation and engagement to be a volunteer over a longer period of time
- Ability to relate well to people and enjoy dealing with them
- Patience, resilience, tolerance and flexibility
- Self-confidence and general ease with other people
- Understanding of and commitment to the ethos of volunteering, community initiative and the organisation
- Experience with adult learners of mixed learning capacities is an advantage but not essential
- Experience in teaching computers would be an advantage but not essential as classes are very learner centric and informal
Training & Induction
- The volunteer will attend an induction/information night in the centre prior to his/her first engagement and will get a general information pack to become familiar with the centre and our procedures
- The volunteer will have an initial meeting with the co-ordinator to receive a role-specific induction and to agree a timetable and schedule of duties in line with the volunteer role description
- Team meetings with our team of computer teachers take place each term, as well as individual training programmes that will be provided if/where necessary
Support & Supervision
The co-ordinator will be responsible for the supervision of the volunteer. Volunteers will meet with their co-ordinator either in one-to-one meetings, or in team meetings meetings to discuss ongoing progress and any issues arising.
General volunteer meetings, for all volunteers, will take place twice a year, in May and November.
- Personal and professional development
- Sharing knowledge that can help others enrich other peoples’ lives
- Opportunity to work in and learn about a community resource centre
- Opportunity to build up valuable work experience
- To be part of a progressive and energetic team supporting others to achieve their goals and to improve their lives.