Enhancing Digital Skills and Addressing Learning Needs of South Asian Women in Edinburgh
Everything is online these days from social media to applying for jobs and benefits. NKS sought to empower grass root South Asian women to access information and make informed choices about their socio-economic circumstances by enhancing their digital skills. NKS provided them with digital literacy classes.
NKS sought to build capacity and enhance skills of grass root South Asian women where they could learn new ways of accessing information and services through digital participation. The aim was to enable women to adapt to e-learning and access a range of useful information in the long run as well as connect socially to others in their local communities. NKS worked for South Asian women and families in an attempt to target disadvantaged hard to reach families and build their capacity to connect them to their local communities and to increase their employability chances. In the past, the organisation has run training sessions for women to learn basic computer skills, but have not gained much success due to low literacy level among grass root South Asian women. It emerged through informal feedback that specific strategies needed to be devised that would combine literacy with computing skills.
The organisation conducted a research and devised a model in line with the needs of women. The model was applied to help women enhance their digital skills. This, the organisation did by providing women with digital literacy opportunities in collaboration with Digital Skills Academy (DSA). The opportunities were in the form of sessions of planned programme that were based on the needs emerging from the research conducted by NKS to assess digital literacy and learning needs of South Asian women in Edinburgh.
The participants learnt in small groups and also received one to one support from bilingual support workers. The sessions were flexible and the day and time changed according to the needs of women. There was one support worker with three women at a time. To begin with eight sessions of two hours were provided to each woman. The progress made by the participants was monitored and the content of the sessions was tailored according to individual needs. Once eight sessions were completed the participants were assessed for the next stage of learning.