SCWIST Digital Literacy Scholarships Build Confidence, Skills & Career Opportunities in TECH

As part of the SCALE project to build capacity, SCWIST partnered with Lighthouse Labs to offer a series of digital literacy scholarships for training in web development, data analytics and front-end development with Javascript. These scholarships focused on creating opportunities for newcomers to Canada and other underrepresented groups to explore careers in TECH, while building their digital skills and confidence! Here are just a few insights shared by the diverse group of 20 women that benefited from these scholarships.

SCWIST Digital Literacy Scholarship Recipients

Marina: “In the Summer 2021, I was lucky enough to receive a SCWIST Digital Literacy Scholarship to study Intro to Web Development. The training program at the Lighthouse Labs coding school gave me a start-to-finish look at what goes into building a working web application, and the confidence that I can build such an app myself. The technologies we learned included HTML and CSS for the front-end, Ruby with Sinatra on the back-end, Git and Github to manage our code, and ActiveRecord to create a database. This course simultaneously showed me how much a developer needs to know, and also gave me confidence that I am capable of learning those skills. Our instructors and teaching assistant were incredibly encouraging and made sure we never felt overwhelmed by the material.”

“Our class was very diverse, and I felt that as a woman and a newcomer I would fit right in with the diverse pool of people currently entering into tech. In addition, I gained an appreciation of the fast pace at which the tech industry is changing. The pace of change is reassuring to me as a new techie, because it means everyone else in the field is also constantly learning! Now that the program is over, my motivation to learn web development skills to switch career is stronger than ever, and my approach is more informed. Thanks to the SCWIST Digital Literacy Scholarship and Lighthouse Labs, I now have a completely transformed understanding of tech as a place where I can contribute and succeed! “

Emery: “This program has greatly helped me in my current role. I am able to understand what developers are talking about and as a designer working alongside developers this is extremely helpful. Prior to taking this course, I actually had no idea what a developer did with code and so this opened my eyes to what a developer’s day may look like and what I would need to understand if I decided to start a business in tech.”

Vladimirka: “My job prospects definitely increased after taking the program about Data Analytics. My main focus in looking for work now are Data Analytics and Business Analysis and this program helped me in complementing previous education and experience with data analytics. Again, I want to thank SCWIST for this valuable opportunity that helped me increase my knowledge and make my skills in the area of data analysis updated and marketable.“

Charmaine: “My training experience at Lighthouse Labs was insightful, engaging, and pushed me outside my comfort zone to learn tools in web development. Although it was an introductory class, I gleaned from the knowledge and expertise of the supportive instructors and fellow cohort members in the training. I definitely feel equipped to further pursue learning independently, and have been made aware of the Full-Time program options offered at Lighthouse Labs! Thankful for the opportunity of the training experience through the scholarship offered by SCWIST.”

Norma: “I am very grateful for the SCWIST scholarship to take a Lighthouse Labs course. This scholarship allowed me to explore other areas of the tech world that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. This scholarship provided a great opportunity for women and other under representative groups to learn a new field and advance in their tech careers. Opportunities like this are extremely important to help continue to diversify these tech fields and I am grateful to have been a part of such a powerful initiative. Thank you SCWIST and Lighthouse Labs! “

Jennifer: “This multi-faceted approach was one of the strengths of the course material as it supports a variety of learning styles. The goal I personally set for myself in taking this course was to get more insight into coding best practices and to reinforce my self-learned progress. Not only did I achieve these goals, I also gained more resources to enhance my continued growth and this course really validated that I’m on the right path.”

Qurrat: “This was an absolutely new dimension to add to my resume and I am sure it would be helpful to connect the dots of future plans. I am planning to start my own startup and I am sure this would be helpful in that.”

Saima: “My skillset has broadened and I learned a new software, Tableau to tackle data analysis. With powerful data visualization and dashboards, presentations are more relevant and easy to give to the business people to make important business decisions. It definitely broadened my prospects and skillset. The learning experience was great and I am thankful to SCWIST for this opportunity.”

Nancy: “I am very grateful for this opportunity as it allowed me to explore a different career pathway, which I would not have done without the financial support from this program. Taking this course presented many challenges for me, but fortunately I was able to overcome them all. In the beginning this seemed like a daunting experience as I recognized my basic and outdated knowledge in programming. It was a very steep learning curve, and I was exposed to so many new concepts in such a short time, that I felt overwhelmed . . . but through patience and determination I prove myself I can still learn and achieve many things.”

“Now I know that there is so much more to explore, and I am not only referring to Web Development, but also about myself. This was the self-esteem booster I needed to continue looking for the right job for me. I hope many more women get the opportunity to go through such a positive and empowering experience while upskilling and improving their job prospects through professional development. Thank you SCWIST and Lighthouse Labs! “

Update from SCALE Project Manager Cheryl Kristiansen: A big thanks to Nasira Aziz, previous Director of Leadership at SCWIST, for coordinating this scholarship program with Lighthouse Labs and collecting feedback from participants. Stay tuned for more opportunities in the future to access scholarships, career supports and other professional development opportunities. Please be sure to sign up for our SCWIST newsletter and follow @SCWIST on social media channels.