ORT and Hewlett-Packard are transforming and expanding the entrepreneur training programmes which they provide at 16 centres across Russia and Ukraine.
The Micro-enterprise Acceleration Programme (MAP) and Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT programme (GET-IT), which ORT Russia has developed to award-winning standards, are being replaced by a new programme “ﾓ HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (LIFE).
“ORT is the only entry point for HP in this region,”? said ORT Russia National Director Dr Sergey Gorinskiy. “So to expand the project we need new trainers. But to train the trainers we need Master Trainers, which we don’t have. So we invited Ana Barfield, Training Programmes Specialist with the Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute (MEA-I) in Geneva, to come to Kiev and lead a seminar to create the qualified personnel.”?
The result was an intensive, four-day seminar at the ORT Technology Lyceum at which 10 GET-IT/MAP trainers from Russia, Ukraine and Serbia were put through their paces. Each participant had to make a presentation on a certain aspect of GET-IT/MAP, which was followed by a discussion and feedback, and to teach a sample topic using other participants as students. Each session was followed by further discussion and assessment.
“Their performance will be evaluated by the MEA-I and those who have met the high standards necessary will be designated Master Trainers,”? Dr Gorinskiy said. “I am confident that we will see a high pass rate: Ms Barfield was very impressed by the level of our trainers.”?
In addition to the training, Ms Barfield was taken to HP-ORT GET-IT centres in Slavutych and Lvov where she was able to meet graduates of the course and see for herself just how appreciated the courses were by people across the social spectrum.
“Both MAP and GET-IT are very good courses but we adapt them to suit the needs of the populations we serve,”? Dr Gorinskiy said.
HP has been impressed by this approach resulting in awards for the ORT-KesherNet Centre in Tambov last year and for the project implemented at ORT’s six initial GET-IT centres in Moscow, St Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Tambov, Volgograd and Tula “ﾓ Breaking the Digital Divide: Business and IT Skills for Underserved Population Groups.
At the Kiev training seminar, Ms Barfield introduced the trainers to the new LIFE curriculum. Like its predecessors, LIFE is aimed at people starting up, running, or working in micro-enterprises. And, like MAP and GET-IT, LIFE is about teaching the practical applications of technology in a business and entrepreneurial context.
MAP was geared towards experienced business people who needed practical IT knowledge to accelerate and sustain business growth while GET-IT served younger people who were thinking about starting up a business.
But LIFE aims to address a broader audience than these two curricula, to teach business concepts and business planning to aspiring entrepreneurs and to teach technology in a more advanced, up-to-date way.
The LIFE curriculum is split into business modules “ﾓ marketing, operations, communications and finance “ﾓ which are then split into more specific topics such as website management, financial graphics and IT security. But, unlike MAP and GET-IT, the new curriculum is also split into different entrepreneurship levels in order to address people with varying degrees of experience in business and with varying technological skills.
In addition to ORT, HP works with the MEA-I, the Education Development Centre (EDC), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) to implement the LIFE programme globally.
Participants in the Kiev seminar were enthused by the experience.
“I acquired many new skills and greater knowledge on how to teach a course,”? said one.
A colleague added: “I like that the training had a good balance of theory and practice”ﾦ we devoted a lot of time to the methodology of teaching a course.”?
And another said that the seminar turned out to be a “push for new ideas”?. “I not only acquired new knowledge and skills on the announced topic but also learned a lot from the experience of the other participants,”? she said.
World ORT’s collaboration with HP began in 2001 with the “ﾘDigital Village’ programme in Dikhatole, near Johannesburg. In 2004, HP and ORT again joined forces to open Digital Community Centres in Slavutych, Ukraine and Tula, Russia, and within a year the Micro Enterprise Acceleration Centre was opened in Samara. In 2007, HP initiated GET-IT and ORT Russia quickly established six GET-IT centres with 10 more opening recently.