Skill for the Future Programme – A Dream Come True!Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Jamaica joins a host of other Caribbean communities in its commitment to a better future for all citizens by 2030. One of its major objectives is for all Jamaicans to be empowered to achieve their fullest potential. In today's fast-paced technologically driven world, it is imperative that all Jamaicans, both able-bodied and persons with disabilities are equipped with digital literacy and data skills in order to realize their full potential as well as meet the demands in our global digital economy.
The Flow Foundation and Caribbean School of Data are collaborating with the Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association Benevolent Society (CCDABS) to support the group on their digital journey. The non-profit organization, formed in 2014, has been an advocate for persons living with disabilities in western Jamaica with members spanning the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Trelawny, Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth. With the acceleration of digitalization worldwide, their advocacy for digital literacy and data skills is timely and relevant.
In speaking about the collaboration, Mr. Robert Blake, Vice President and Founder of the CCDABS, said: “This is like a dream come true. My heart and passion are in technology and for members of the disabled community to be included in this programme means the world to me. This will empower them to compete in the job market and create endless opportunities for them.”
Twenty-five (25) CCDABS members are registered for the Skills for the Future programme currently being executed under a partnership between the Flow Foundation and Caribbean School of Data at the Mona School of Business & Management. A subset of the group is currently participating in and evaluating the programme against their needs. The feedback from this first cohort will be used to support and enhance the participation of future CCDABS cohorts.
Danielle Clarke is one of the group's top performers having almost completed the 16 modules in the programme. She is currently working to complete the final Capstone project that requires students to apply all the knowledge gained to a given business scenario.
Clarke, who is 30 years old, volunteers with the CCDABS in the capacity of Virtual Assistant – a job which, she explained, is completely online as her disability limits her mobility. She shared that she is a highly motivated individual who believes that learning is equal to growing. When she heard about the programme, she immediately signed up because she could see how it would help improve her existing qualifications and that having digital skills will allow her to access greater opportunities by facilitating more work from home.
She frankly admits that what drew her to the Skills for the Future programme was the opportunity to “upskill herself from the comfort of her home”.
“I have found this programme very accessible and time efficient”, she stated. “With my type of disability which limits my movement, it is really amazing that I can be trained and certified while working at my own pace. This training will really provide me with skills that will help me to qualify for more virtual job opportunities,” she added. Clarke also shared that she intends to give back by becoming a facilitator for the programme when she graduates.
The partnership with the CCDABS is one of the many ways that the Flow Foundation is driving digital inclusion to enable the progress of Jamaicans, including the disabled community. Earlier this year, members of the community were also part of the virtual audience at the Foundation's Safer Internet Week Virtual Teen Summit executed in observance of Safer Internet Week.
Vulnerable Communities Embrace Skills for the Future Programme
Over 100 persons registered to date
Over 100 persons from vulnerable communities are currently registered in the free Skills for the Future programme which is part of the Flow Foundation's Digital Education Initiative.
As the country progresses on its journey to Vision 2030, the Flow Foundation continues to drive digital inclusion – a key element to achieving National Goal #1 which states that “Jamaicans are empowered to achieve their fullest potential”. Under this goal, citizens call fully develop their “skills and abilities, and use them in productive and creative ways to build…lives and develop our country”. One of the key national outcomes of this goal is world class education and training which also speaks to ensuring “access to education and training opportunities for disadvantaged groups including unattached youth and persons with disabilities”.
Globally, there has been a growing interest in digital literacy and data skills as the pandemic accelerates digitalization initiatives. Increasingly, populations are required to have some level of digital competencies to participate in the global digital economy. This is also true for Jamaicans as both private sector companies and public sector entities transition to the online space. While some level of digital competency is required for day to day online transactions and exchanges, it is even more critical in the competitive job market.
The Skills for the Future Programme, which is focused on digital literacy and data skills training, continues to be heavily subscribed as many seek to build or enhance their digital competency.
For more information and to apply, visit www.flowfoundationja.org
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