Learning digital skills helping migrants with job hunt

Limited English and a lack of computer skills made job searching in a new country difficult for Tibetan-born refugee Dhondupkyi.

She’s far from alone.

But with the help of Good Things Foundation Australia, opportunities are opening up for the 38-year-old who lived in India for 20 years before moving to Australia last year.

The social change charity teaches digital literacy skills to those struggling with technology and the internet, partnering with about 3500 community groups.

One of its new initiatives, Digital Sisters, involves bi-lingual mentors focused on helping refugee and migrant women.

Foundation CEO Jess Wilson believes the program, which aims to offer its services to about 800 women between the ages of 18 and 50, will be life changing.

“What we know is that just about everything we do today requires us to participate in the digital world,” Ms Wilson says.

“We know that people who have lower education or have low employment are also more likely to be digitally excluded because they haven’t had the opportunity to build those skills that we all use in the workforce.”

Ms Wilson worries that as new technology is adopted, vulnerable groups like migrant women will continue to be left behind.

“We’re wanting to make sure that they’re able to integrate into society … to get a job and to feel comfortable settling here,” she said.

“So really essential skills, digital skills, are absolutely core to being able to do that.”

The foundation’s recent survey of 2000 people found that one-in-four people who speak a language other than English at home feel they need more support to keep up with changing technology.

One-in-five say their lack of digital literacy skills has affected their job opportunities.

“Searching for a job … computers make it really easy to search for everything,” Dhondupkyi told AAP.


Nyk Carnsew
(Australian Associated Press)


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