Programme bridges gap between underprivileged youths and the digital world

Skills enhanced: The graduates of the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) accreditation programme with Goh (seated, centre), Montfort Boys Town ICT coordinators Michael Lee (seated, fourth from right), and Monfort Marketing & Public Relations general manager Mindy S.T. Wong (seated, third from right).

MANY from underprivileged backgrounds are still unfamiliar with or have little access to Information Technology.

F&N Beverages Marketing Sdn Bhd established the F&N IT Corner programme in 2010 to help youths of Montfort Boys Town develop essential computer skills.

The F&N IT Corner has also given students the opportunity to undergo a six to eight-month International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) certification programme since 2011.

This internationally-recognised programme requires students to pass a minimum of four modules that test their proficiency in computing knowledge and skills.

Offered to final-year students, the programme gives participants a detailed understanding of basic ICT concepts and in computer functions such as managing files, word processing, developing spreadsheets, databases, presentations as well as for information and communication.

F&N Beverages Corporate Affairs manager Cariessa Goh said computer competency is now perceived as a core skill alongside reading, writing and mathematics.

“Basic computer skills are vital to help youths advance irrespective of their profession. Underprivileged youths who do not receive the same opportunities will fall behind,” she said at the ICDL graduation ceremony for 35 new graduates.

Sugemthiren Sredaran, 18, did not have any computer background prior to entering Montfort Boy’s Town but that did not stop him from pursuing a course in graphic design.

“The ICDL programme has provided me with the basic skills in essential software programmes such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Excel which will help me as a graphic designer,” he said.

Computer Maintenance student Joshua Hilary Teng, 19, said ICDL had enriched his understanding of basic computer software.

“The skills learnt will help me in the working world,” he said.

Ipoh-born Theanmoli Kali said the ICDL course will provide her with more employment options.

“The ICDL programme has widened my knowledge and given me more options when looking for a job,” said the 20-year-old.

Graphic design teacher Nurul Asikin Roslan said the certification course was a great stepping stone for students.

The first F&N IT Corner was established by F&N in Montfort Boys Town, Shah Alam, in 2010, followed by a second centre in Montfort Youth Centre in Malacca in 2012, and a third in Montfort Girls Centre, Shah Alam, also in 2012.

F&N has invested RM180,000 to date in the F&N IT Corner at Montfort Town to equip the centres with the necessary computer equipment, printers, projectors, internet access, as well as funding to conduct the ICDL program.

Since starting the ICDL course in 2011, over 160 students have excelled and graduated with international accreditation in the programme.

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