Helping others get ready for IT with ReDI
ReDI School Copenhagen is a non-profit run by volunteers who support women with a refugee or immigrant background to acquire digital skills, self-confidence, and a larger network to give them better opportunities in a digitized society.
KMD supports and engages in various initiatives that support education, employment, and gender equality in the IT-sector. Additionally, KMD also supports initiatives that help citizens to be well equipped to utilize public digital solutions. These initiatives include Coding Class, High5Girls, Welcome Home, the DaneAge Association, and ReDI School Copenhagen.
Since 2019, Ida Marie Bjerre Jepsen, founder of ReDI School Copenhagen, has worked with her team to create a strong social and professional network of students, volunteers, and businesses. The school's goal is to bridge the gap between the students and the labour market, with a focus on the IT industry. By doing so, the school manages to create solutions by linking societal challenges from the areas of integration and employment. A lot of often highly educated refugees and immigrants are seeking jobs. Subsequently, is the Danish IT-industry struggling with an unequal gender balance and labour shortages.
"We give students the opportunity to acquire digital skills so they can navigate and find a foothold in one of the world's most digitized societies. Additionally, we work to create confidence and access to larger networks, all of which open new doors and create new professional opportunities," explains Ida Marie Bjerre Jepsen.
We give students the opportunity to acquire digital skills so they can navigate and find a foothold in one of the world's most digitized societies. Additionally, we work to create confidence and access to larger networks, all of which open new doors and create new professional opportunities.
Digital integration both for beginners as well as experienced students
The school offers courses on two levels respectively for beginners and intermediates in IT. At the beginner level, the courses Digital in Society and Digital in Job are offered. These help to integrate the students into the many citizen-oriented solutions offered by the Danish society.
"You use a computer for everything today, so it's important to me that I can use a computer. I have learned a lot of small and great things about computers: email, e-Boks, google, sundhed.dk and borger.dk. My confidence has improved a lot. Now, I can also use the computer when I'm at the language school. The most important thing is that I have become comfortable using a computer and it makes me more independent in my everyday life," says a student at one of the school's Digital in Society courses.
It's been really good to get career coaching. I've been helped to create a profile on LinkedIn and my resume. I also feel how it motivates me to find jobs in the IT-industry when we have visited a company where I also got the opportunity to practice networking.
Great recognition in a short time
Despite ReDI School Copenhagen's short-lived existence, the school has already received a lot of recognition. Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission, visited the school in June 2020 to hear about the school's work on digital empowerment and integration. In August 2020, the school received Fællesskabsprisen (the Community Award) for its extraordinary work for the community and the welfare society. The award was founded in cooperation between Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and several large Danish organizations, companies, and educational institutions. As recently as December 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ new Tech Ambassador Anne Marie Engtoft was the keynote speaker at the DemoDay at the end of the semester.
Lessons by IT-enthusiasts
Volunteers from the IT-industry are connected to the school as teachers, so they can consult students in both the professional- and working life of the industry. The teachers are important role models and mentors for students in sharing academic, personal, and professional experiences. Often, teachers also act as links between students and businesses. The teachers also influence the courses with their own unique IT-skills, as well as with inspiration in the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Danish Chamber of Commerce’s knowledge of needs and demand in the Danish labour market – especially within the IT-industry.
"For me, teaching at the beginner courses, Digital in Society, is a very good experience. Both because I experience so much positive feedback, and because we have repeatedly helped the students to make concrete improvements to their lives here in Denmark. After 35 years in the IT industry, it is a huge gift, partly to be able to help the students, and especially, to help for better integration and equality in the IT-sector in Denmark," says Anne Bjerre Jørgensen, a former Developer & Business Analyst at KMD.
Follow ReDI Copenhagen on LinkedIn.