The project will target ethnic minority women who have been working with Saheliya & progressed enough to be in a position to cope with the language & learning demands of basic computing classes. We will work in partnership utilising the expertise of the Digital Skills Academy (DSA) to deliver a high quality learning programme which will offer Microsoft Digital Literacy certification.
The project will give the learners essential skills to help with the process of integration & employment which they have embarked on with Saheliya. The project will have a significant impact on the women we will support, giving them the skills to enable them to search for & obtain work, access public & consumer services, pay bills, search for cost savings for utilities & goods, have social contact with others & even keep up with their children’s activities online.
Giving people the skills they are expected to have automatically by the welfare system enables them to meet Jobcentre expectations & help avoid the possibility of sanctions which are having a major impact on people living in poverty.
The project will be delivered in Saheliya premises where learners can access existing equipment in the form of PCs, laptops & tablets. They will also access in-house childcare which will facilitate their learning. This combination of expert digital learning support & the emotional & practical support offered by Saheliya makes this project unique.
The classes will be delivered in 2 half-day sessions per week by an experienced IT trainer & will run for up to 8 weeks. We plan for 6-7 people in each class (12 per week) who will be supported by at least 1 volunteer. We will run 3 of these classes over the course of one year.
We plan to recruit volunteers from Saheliya clients who have more advanced IT skills. Our evidence from working with clients is that there is a sufficient number of more highly educated & experienced clients to provide this aspect of the service. The evidence of DSA is that the role of volunteers is crucial to ensure individualised learning can be achieved. In addition, 36% of DSA volunteers over the past 2 years have progressed into work. Individual assessments will take place at the start of each course to enable an individualised learning plan to be developed for each learner. The use of volunteers enables the learners to develop at their own pace. Evaluation will take place again at the mid-point to ensure that the remaining time on the course targets any gaps in their learning. The final evaluation will illustrate both to the funder & the learner the distance they have travelled in their learning. In addition, we plan to engage at least 2 members of Saheliya staff to train to become digital champions. This will embed the project in the organisation & enable the staff to run additional drop-in sessions to provide practice opportunities for the learners to continue to access the equipment on an additional half day per week during the class.