Following the successful launch of the Skills Development pilot program part of the Skills Development and Employability Support pillar of the Harmonising Protection Practices in Greece (HARP) project at the Katsikas LTAC, the program will now be extended to all other sites supported by ASB in the Epirus region with the support of DG HOME and in cooperation with IOM.
Within this framework ASB organized a series of weekly ICT, English language and Greek Language classes for refugees and migrants residing at the Long Term Accommodation Centre of Katsikas in Ioannina, Epirus.
One of the most important steps towards integration includes Skills Development. ICT and language skills for all citizens provide a passport to further development on a professional, academic, or personal level but also boost self-confidence and promote inclusion. The choice of ICT or more simply computer lessons are a fundamental skill to find a job online or even to acquire know-how for the daily use of a mobile phone or tablet.
Moreover, English and Greek classes help beneficiaries with their integration into the local community and internationally; opening up more doors and expanding opportunities.
The lessons are divided into levels, starting from 0 (beginners) and progressing towards further levels each of them allowing the student to obtain a certificate and to continue to the next level.
What about the students?
ICT, English and Greek classes have common students, eager to combine skills and learn as much as is on offer. Ruth and Muslim (seen on the right with their certificates) for instance attend both ICT and English classes; they are among the young people who want to spend quality time and grab opportunities to enhance their knowledge.
They recently completed the English level course for beginners and are taking the next step to the second level! When asked about the course they said they found that they now had the basic skills to communicate e.g to present themselves, to shop in a super market or at the groceries, to go to the doctor and also to use some fun expressions in English!
ICT specialist Theodoris explains: “I had no fears at all when I started to teach this course. My main challenge was the language because without knowing English students cannot handle a keyboard and I do not speak their language either. Without the keyboard characters, without the knowledge of the English alphabet and the motivation there would be no way to teach the basics.”
Kostas the Greek teacher concludes with optimistic feedback from the students: “When learning a dialogue, the students told me they are ready to apply it in real life”. “They tell me that going to the doctor is less complicated, as they can now communicate the basics”.
In addition under the Skills Development and Employability programme beneficiaries can also request to have their CV’s done which they can use either in Greece or in another European country, a literal “Europass” to the labour market.