Posted Under: Computer Skills in Education,Digital Literacy
Growing up without a computer, Anne Mercer wasn’t sure what to think when she was offered the chance to participate in a computer literacy program. It was just a few years ago that she did not even have a place to call home, let alone the luxury of a home computer.
That’s when a program called Homeward Bound came to Anne’s rescue.
Homeward Bound, a project of WoodGreen Community Services in Toronto, gives mother led families who have experienced homelessness support through employment training, transitional housing, child care, and many other vital services. One of the training programs they provide is the ICDL, the International Computer Driving Licence.
The ICDL is a computer literacy certificate program that has established standards for computer users in either a professional or a personal capacity. It is a certificate that verifies competence, declares computer skills, and makes the certificate holder readily mobile within Canadian business and across the rest of the world.
As part of the WoodGreen initiative, Anne was one of 16 formerly homeless mothers who completed ICDL certification. She then went on to apply her skills at Seneca College, were she was given advanced standing in her computer courses. The skills she’s learned have been invaluable to Anne: “We’ve gone through two semesters at Seneca College now and I’ve used my learning from ICDL every single day, with every project, with every time I turned on the computer”.
Not only has ICDL certification given these women practical skills for re-entering the workforce, it has given them invaluable life skills. ICDL certification is a huge accomplishment to them. It’s confidence building; it proves to them that “I can do it,” says Jacqueline Whittingham, Director of Homeward Bound. For some this may be the first (educational) certificate they’ve ever had. It gives them the confidence to assert themselves at work – that they’re on a level playing field with everyone else.
Anne’s success story was recognized both nationally by ICDL Canada, and internationally by the ECDL foundation (ICDL in Europe). On October 13, in Zurich, Switzerland, Anne was awarded the international achievement award ECDL/ICDL Impacts Lives. The “ICDL Impacts Lives” competition was established to recognize and celebrate ICDL Candidates who have benefited from ICDL certification.
“Our winning candidate, Anne Mercer, is living proof of the ICDL ideal and shows that becoming certified opens doors and grants access to people who would otherwise be excluded from many areas of society. By achieving ICDL certification under difficult circumstances Anne has been able to turn her life around and put herself on an equal footing in the workplace with others”, says David Carpenter, CEO, ECDL.
And now Anne’s part of that workforce. She works at the IBM/SPC Proposal delivery centre as a text graphics specialist. And she has hope for the future.
“Now my ICDL certificate proves that I am not useless that I will be something. The ICDL course saved me in college too. It put me on a level playing field with other students who grew up with computers in their homes.”
ICDL Canada is the national operator of the International Computer Driving Licenceâ„¢ (ICDLâ„¢), the world’s leading, most endorsed learning and certification programs for computer end-user skills. ICDL is provided in Canada with the support and participation of The Information Technology Association of Canada, La FÃ©dÃ©ration de l’informatique du QuÃ©bec and the Canadian Information Processing Society.