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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

OFWs learn basic computer skills in London

At a time when internet technology has made communication with loved ones more easier, faster and cheaper many Filipinos working in the household sector in the United Kingdom such as domestic helpers, housekeepers and nannies have little or no knowledge at all in operating the computer.

Juvy Santiago, a Filipino overseas worker for almost a decade is one of them. She has not tried browsing the internet simply because she has dedicated herself to earn a living to fend for her family back home.

But her life is about to change.

Santiago is one of the attendees of the training in basic computer course organized by the Philippine Overseas and Labor Office (POLO) of the Philippine Embassy in London.

The course aims to provide basic knowledge in word, excel, power point and writing an email and chatting online, among others.

For Santiago, who has been hoping to acquire basic skills in using the computer, the program came at the right time.

“Malaking maitutulong nitong first learning namin sa embassy ng computer kasi doon kami matututo kung paano kami gumawa ng word, mag- type kami o kahit anumang document na kailangan naming gawin, pwede na naming isarili yun,” said Santiago, a housekeeper in London.

Santiago aims to use the internet as an alternative means of communicating with her family in the Philippines. She said she is looking forward to chat online with her kids which will help her in cutting down her telephone bills.

A total of 29 enrollees participated in the course who like Santiago, are working in the household sector and have very little or no knowledge of the use internet and very low computer literacy.

“The objective of course is to upgrade the skills of our OFWs especially those in the household sector--- the nannies, domestic helpers and others,” said Labor Attache Jainal ‘Jun’ Rasul of the Philippine Embassy’s labor office.

With the UK Home Office toughening up the laws on immigration for low-skilled migrant workers, Rasul said this is an opportunity that OFWs here should not pass up.

“We know for a fact that UK is skills-based and they are attracting migrants who are skilled or highly-skilled so this is the best time to invest in themselves in terms of education.”

The course is going to run for six consecutive Sundays and is conducted at the embassy in London. The POLO office is also offering other skills training such as basic English language course at the culmination of this project.

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