The employment rate of women with an immigrant background is lower than that of Finnish women, and the disparity is even greater compared to men. In the "Digillä opin portaille" project, the language and digital skills of immigrant women were strengthened to address this issue. A recent publication highlights the outcomes of the project.
The project aimed to enhance the educational and employability skills of immigrant women.
Specifically, it focused on strengthening their Finnish language proficiency and digital skills. "Digillä opin portaille" was led by Miia Heininen, Project Manager from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences, and Johanna Tepsa, Project Coordinator from Diaconia University of Applied Sciences.
According to self-assessments by the women who participated in the project's training, their skills improved significantly.
The project has received overwhelmingly positive feedback. The participants found the training sessions beneficial, as they improved their digital skills and proficiency in the Finnish language. The warm and supportive atmosphere of the training sessions played a significant role in engaging and motivating the participants, according to Heininen.
In addition to formal education, the project emphasized the importance of breaks. Specifically, building the participants' self-efficacy was crucial in providing effective career guidance and counseling, as stated by Tepsa.
The "Digillä opin portaille" project organized eight training sessions for immigrant women and two training sessions for professionals in multicultural guidance work. Additionally, four shorter pop-up training sessions were conducted. A total of 300 hours of training were provided for immigrant women, with 140 participants reached. The project also engaged 130 professionals in multicultural guidance work through training sessions and a final seminar.
The project developed materials to support multicultural guidance work, including materials in plain language, multiple languages, and targeted at adults. The materials include 32 Strength Cards, 20 I Like Myself Cards, 32 Conversation Cards, one Clear Guide to Studying, 156 words in multilingual glossaries, and four language-supported tasks.
Target Audience and Future Implications: The publication is particularly valuable for professionals in multicultural guidance and education, as well as individuals interested in the topic.
In Finland, there is a clear labor shortage in specific sectors. Supporting immigrant women in pursuing education and employment is crucial. Equipping professionals with tools for multicultural guidance work is equally important, state Heininen and Tepsa.
The "Digillä opin portaille" project successfully strengthened the language and digital skills of immigrant women, contributing to their educational and employment opportunities. By providing comprehensive training and materials, the project aimed to address the lower employment rates among women with an immigrant background. It is a significant step toward promoting inclusivity and diversity in the Finnish workforce, ensuring that immigrant women can fully contribute to and benefit from society.
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