Psst...have you heard of our E4 Programme?!

No, we haven’t renamed our core digital education programme, but we put in an extra E in the heading of this article for a reason! Crisleen, our JRS Project Lead is bursting to tell us the good news about our Expanded (yes that’s the reason for the extra E) E3 programme

While preparing for this newsletter, I realised it’s been almost two years since we began our first run of the E3 Digital Course for refugee students in July 2021. It is a joy to share that we are now running the fifth cohort of our digital marketing course and have trained two cohorts of our Cisco Basic and Cisco Certified Network Associate courses. As of Dec 2022, E3 has over 145 graduates. Graduates of the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) course will have the skillsets to install, configure, and troubleshoot networks using products from Cisco, a major provider of networking services.

We are also proud of our Cisco CCNA graduate, Sam*, who is now a JRS intern. Under the supervision of our Cisco instructor and JRS volunteer Tien Yau, Sam is supporting the operations and mentoring a new batch of refugee students enrolled in the Cisco course. We applaud Sam for his drive to continuously learn and his willingness to give back to the refugee community.

After almost a year of running the digital education programme, our JRS E3 team embarked on a review of our courses to ensure they are relevant and impactful. In mid-2022, we conducted a survey with selected E3 students and graduates, as well as garnered feedback from our internship partners. E3 students and graduates shared with us their deep desire for more courses that could expand their knowledge and expand livelihood opportunities.

After some research, the team identified courses such as Web Development, Programming, User Interface (UI) / User Experience (UX) and other specific software tools in the Microsoft office suite. The beginning of 2023 was filled with excitement as we finalised the additional IT courses with the blessing of our donor.

Poster for Microsoft/Google Workshop – done by one of our refugee interns.

Under the newly curated courses, our refugee students will begin with Web Development, where they will acquire essential IT skills to create websites. Beginning in April 2023, the course focuses on fundamental coding and HTML, followed by an introduction to Content Management System (CMS) platforms like WordPress and Wix. Subsequently, eligible graduates of Web Development will be shortlisted to deepen their knowledge in user experience and user interface design.

“I love learning new skills. Now, I am eager to study a new skill in the IT field, such as programming, web development or applications design/development. By expanding my skillsets in this field, I can find more opportunities online and support my family financially.” – Aaron*

We also appreciate the importance of enhancing Microsoft and Google’s daily used software skills. Therefore, we have curated an in-house Microsoft & Google Workshop, facilitated by our IT Mentors (JRS refugee Interns). With an intimate class size of ten to twelve, students will learn basic to intermediate skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. The ten-day course will be a mix of theory and application, with assignments and practical exercises after every module. Eventually, the course will culminate in a case study assignment where students present their work. The most outstanding one will be awarded the Best Student Award.

“If I get a chance to learn these IT skills, such as Web development or Network Management, then it would be my privilege to be a part of this program. I have always wanted to have my own business one day. And in today’s world, it’s vital to have knowledge about computer skills. And without any doubt, it’s one of the keys to helping me reach my goal.” – Victoria*

There is a real sense of accomplishment in seeing the plans on the drawing board come to fruition. As these courses are new, we may face some teething problems and challenges ahead. But with the guidance of the Holy Spirit (and fervent prayer!), we remain optimistic that by developing professional skills, these new programmes will boost our refugee students’ self-confidence, ignite their love for learning and rekindle hope for a new future. With the support from this programme, we hope that better opportunities lie ahead for themselves and their families.

*Not their real names to protect the privacy and confidentiality of refugee students