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Forum: Lifelong Participation Through Digital Technology – Melbourne Nov 2017

“We should get rid of the term retirement…I’m expecting to work until I’m 90, but the nature of work and my participation in society will change.”

The Lifelong Participation through Digital Technology Forum

The Lifelong Participation through Digital Technology Forum is designed to realise the potential for digital technology to support enhanced participation in later life by joining up ideas, resources and initiatives at the national level.

“Getting retired means being able to pursue completely new dreams, finally having impact on the world… Maybe moving from what most of us do, which is trying to fulfill the expectations of society by getting a job, having children, building a house and so on, to living your life to its fullest.”

“…my grandkids have come to visit and they’ve set up Skype for me and now I can Skype with family and friends.”

 “…if people aren’t digitally literate to start off with, how can they access that increased learning and those international communities?”

This event brings together a selected group of high-level stakeholders from across Australian society.  Forum participants include representatives of not-for-profit groups, government departments, technology providers, researchers, superannuation funds and community services organisations.

Our goal is to achieve collective impact by combining resources, scaling up existing initiatives and accelerating innovative social action projects.


The agenda will be shaped by forum participants ahead of time, so that participants can focus on the issues of interest to them and work together to define their objectives and establish an action plan.

Some of the issues that were highlighted by the experts who took part in our research (which may form the focus of forum activities) include:

  • Supporting transitions for mature workers: Mature workers who are less digitally literate are highly vulnerable to labour market disruptions (e.g., due to automation). How do we help them transition to new roles in the digital economy or identify new ways of generating income in the digital economy?
  • Regional and Remote Communities: Digital technology can bridge geographic distance, allowing anyone to access global markets, educational opportunities and social networks. Yet regional and remote communities in Australia have reduced digital infrastructure, leaving populations less engaged. Workers in regional and remote communities are less likely to be participating in the highly paid knowledge worker roles which exist in the digital economy. How do we bridge this gap?
  • Independent work arrangements : Digital technology ushers in new platforms for income generation which support entrepreneurship, freelancing and portfolio careers. These flexible work arrangements may represent an attractive proposition for older people with established social, intellectual and financial capital. How do we support people to engage with these opportunities whilst also ensuring that basic protections and rights are maintained under these new work arrangements?
  • Lifelong learning through digital technology: Globally increasing education levels, combined with the impacts of automation will mean that in the future, workers will need to reskill and upskill more often to maintain employability. Digital technology (and in particular the internet), provides immediate access to a wide range of information. Users can find a video on how to perform an exact task, research what training is available in an area, and even complete coursework and obtain formal qualifications in a fully online environment. How do we ensure older people are confident to access and utilise these digital learning resources?
  • Reframing retirement: With digital platforms allowing individuals to engage with international emergency taskforces, citizen science platforms or support the design and delivery of government services, a significant change of mindset is needed re the types of impacts one can hope to achieve in later life.   The productivity and advancement of our society requires that we use the connective capability of digital technology to ensure that individuals’ energy and passion is channeled towards the many new ways of being involved in meaningful and productive activities, how do we realise this potential?
  • Ageing-in-place: Assistive technology, online networks, automated transport and many more opportunities can support older Australians to remain independent, mobile and productive for longer, but what are the potential impacts for social participation?
  • Digital inclusion: Some of the factors that limit or encourage digital inclusion are: the financial cost of accessing technology, issues of privacy and security, and digital literacy, what are the others and how do we ensure these issues do not become barriers to lifelong participation through digital technology?

Following the event, a Joint Issues Statement will be produced (supported by Per Capita and Data61) to capture outcomes from the Forum.


International digital inclusion expert, Helen Milner OBE will be providing input to the forum via a special video conference.
Helen Milner

Helen Milner OBE is the Chief Executive of Good Things Foundation, a staff-led charity that works with over 5,000 hyper-local community partners in the UK, Australia and Kenya supporting people to benefit from everything the internet has to offer, and driving digital and social inclusion. Since 2010 her organisation and their local partners have helped more than 2 million people to cross the digital divide. Helen has over 30 years’ experience of developing internet education services and content in the UK,  Australia and Japan. Helen was awarded an OBE for services to digital inclusion in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in June 2015. In 2017 she won the coveted title of Digital Leader of the Year (UK).



When: 1pm – 5pm, Monday 20 November 2017

Where: Telstra Customer Insight Centre, 1/242 Exhibition St (Cnr Lonsdale St), Melbourne VIC 3000


If you would like to be involved in the forum but have not received an invitation, please complete the form below to join the waitlist.

If you can’t attend the forum but want to hear the outcomes, complete the form below to join our mailing list.

If you are interested in attending our second forum in Queensland, planned for early in 2018, complete the form below to be added to our mailing list.


Join us to drive positive change!


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