Since September last year, Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA) in cooperation with the State Employment Agency (SEA) has offered women aged 18 to 29 to acquire ICT skills for career development in digital jobs. In the spring of this year, the last participants of the courses completed the training and in total, 125 young women in Latvia used the opportunity to acquire skills for digital work. Currently, more than two thirds of the participants in the Women4IT project have started new jobs.
In total 125 young women in Latvia had possibility to join Women4IT project, they have completed the training in following job profiles:
• Project coordinator – 13 participants
• Information systems tester – 46 participants
• Data Analyst – 22 participants
• Data Protection Specialist – 17 participants
• Digital media practitioner – 27 participants
The most popular of the learning pathways that participants had the opportunity to learn was Information Systems Testing. All training programs were prepared taking into account the recommendations of employers and experts in order to ensure the training content is relevant to the current labour market needs. Although women aged 18-29 were invited to participate in the courses, the greatest interest was observed among participants in the age group 25-29 (76%). The training was organized remotely and the courses were an opportunity for women from all over Latvia to participate, which the participants mentioned as a great advantage.
The main motivation to participate in the training courses that was mentioned by the participants was the opportunity to retrain and return to the labour market after a long break. A large number of participants were encouraged to apply by career counsellors from the State Employment Agency or by family members or friends already working in the IT sector.
Participants acknowledged that the training provided new knowledge and skills to start working in their chosen field. They also stressed the importance of the support of trainers and mentors and information about the industry as a whole, which provided great support system, as well as individual interest of the trainee in the chosen field in order to continue learning individually. After two months of training, participants acknowledged that if one is interested in learning new skills and want to learn and develop on their own, it is possible to start a new career in the digital industry – 88% of surveyed respondents said convincingly that the courses have improved their chances of finding work.
The Women4IT project provided not only free training for the above mentioned target group, but also support in finding a job after graduation. During the whole involvement with project, participants were provided with support measures for job search and starting a new career – seminars and mentoring events were organized for young women with industry professionals, as well as support for CV creation and job application preparation.
In order to find out the impact of training on the growth of young women – the ability to find a job after graduation, a participant’s survey was conducted 2-3 months after graduation. The survey data show that 73% of the participants had managed to find a new job, including a full-time and part-time job, paid internship, self-employment, as well as starting their own business. The most popular channels for job finding were – job advertisements on vacancy portals (32%), offers from the State Employment Agency (25%) and offers provided by the Women4IT project (21%).
Training and career support activities were organized in Latvia by implementing the international partnership project “Women4IT” (No. 2017-1-094), which is funded by the Norwegian, Icelandic and Liechtenstein Foundation Youth Employment Program and aims to promote the involvement of young women in ICT professions and in digital works. Project support group – young women aged 19 to 29 who are not in education, employment, or training (NEET).
More information about the project: women4it.eu