Two new short-term programs assist the community

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: PROVIDED BY RICK TOWNEND
A group of seniors at the Hamilton Road Senior Centre take the first module of Access Studies' new digital literacy program.

Fanshawe College’s Access Studies, stationed at 431 Richmond St., is offering two new programs aimed at empowering its participants with the skill set, confidence and comprehension to successfully engage in the community.

Financial and digital literacy programs are being offered to the community, accommodating the needs of Londoners as best they can. These programs are currently presented in 16-hour blocks, ensuring a sufficient amount of information is covered in the curriculum.

“The courses can be delivered in any scheduled manner that organizations would like. We can do one day, two or three sessions a week or one to three hours each time we arrange to meet. Whatever organizers feel is right for their setting we can accommodate,” said Rick Townend, academic services consultant at Access Studies at Fanshawe College.

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A growing list of requirements and educational certification is needed to obtain employment, finding some people at a disadvantage. The expectation of preparation before employment is now becoming the standard, with less employment offered training for skills employers believe candidates should already possess.

Efforts have been made in partnership with Ontario Works Social Services, addressing the growing problem of ill-prepared members of the workforce in relationship to digital literacy. These programs are designed to equip participants with a growing comprehension of differing software, internet correspondence etiquette and navigation of various social media platforms, many of which are used quite extensively by businesses in all industries.

“Financial literacy…is perfect for the Ontario Works clients looking to build employment skills,” said Townend.

With generational evolutions causing many families to live farther apart, the need for digital literacy is appropriately made available to individuals in need of the upgrade.

“Digital literacy helps keep the older generation connected with all the advancements in communication technologies,” Townend said, “as well it provides ways to connect to opportunities that require online communication or registration.” Family dynamics are very different now than they were 40 years ago, in relation to how common it was for families to live closer to one another. The global community has made it possible for distance to be put between children, their parents and extended family without the sacrifice of loss of interaction.

These programs provide more than just upgraded skills and comprehension, they also tailor their programs to support areas distinct to different demographics and backgrounds.

“We are currently in partnership with the city on two fronts: Hamilton [Road] Senior Centre and Ontario Works Social Services West End. Moreover, we are working on building another partnership with the March of Dimes as well,” said Townend. These organizations serve the community in different ways, requiring mission-specific assistance. Participants at the Hamilton Road Senior Centre would likely require more attention with material covering social media navigation, safe communication practices and identity protection, whereas Ontario Works may concentrate on material more pertinent to job obtainment and meeting employment prerequisites.

Access Studies has also provided programs that have tailored to financial assimilation for new citizens to the country who may be unaware of certain financial considerations to monitor.