Learning new technical skills is essential to competing in today’s ever-changing workforce. At the same time, being able to work and participate in the economy is vital to supporting women’s financial independence and confidence in their capabilities . However, learning new skills can be expensive and intimidating. This is especially true for marginalised groups of women who may have less access to necessary resources and may not have a background in formal education. For these women the barriers to continued lifelong learning are even higher, yet they could also stand to benefit the most from upskilling.
Chayn’s education network, Ammal, is about changing this.
Ammal is a new education initiative that hopes that, by empowering women through gamified training, Ammal can get women coding, designing, building and more importantly, collaborating! Run by the team behind Chayn, Ammal is creating an open and collaborative network of women who support and empower each other by passing on the skills they have and the skills they’ve learned to other women. We’re grateful to UnLtd for supporting us for the pilot of this project for 16–30 year olds in Tower Hamlets, London.
In total, we reached 64 women in East London who took the course through 3 classes, and 35% of them pledged to pass on skills.
How to get hired
We received feedback from 14 out of 33 women who attended our first workshop. Here are the results from our feedback survey:
How confident were you in your ability to find a job before attending today’s workshop?
- 43% [6/14] — ‘somewhat confident’
- 36% [5/14] — ‘confident’
- 29% [3/14] — ‘not sure’
Why did you attend the session?
- 64% [9/14] — ‘to improve strategy in finding a job’
- 36% [5/14] — ‘to improve CV & cover letter’
- 26% [4/14] — ‘to improve outcome of job applications’
- 7% [1/14] — ‘build personal brand’
- 14% [2/14] — ‘networking’
- 14% [2/14] — ‘get expert advice’
How confident do you feel now?
- 7% [1/14] — ‘the same’
- 64% [9/14] — ‘marginally better’
- 29% [4/14] very confident
What was your favourite section?
- 71% [10/14] — ‘cvs & cover letter’
- 50% [7/14] — ‘creating online brand & bio’
- 21% [3/14] — ‘freelancing 101’
- 21% [3/14] — ‘getting picture taken for LinkedIn profiles’
- 7% [1/14] other: ‘Be able to ask direct questions to an experienced recruiter’
What would make this session better?
- 43% [6/14] — more time on each segment of the workshop
- 14% [2/14] — more time for individual feedback
- 7% [1/14] — ‘to know more about background of team, Ammal & Chayn’
- 7% [1/14] ‘the day was too long’
- 14% [2/14] — ‘wouldn’t change anything’
Will you be teaching other women these skills so you can do more Ammal courses?
- 100% [14/14] — Yes
Would you recommend this to a friend?
- 92% [13/14] — Yes
We received feedback from 9 out of 16 women who attended Digital Design workshop. Here are the results from our feedback survey.
How much did you enjoyed today?
- 89% [8/9] — ‘enjoyed it alot’
- 11% [1/9] — ‘enjoyed it a bit’
How confident were you using digital design tools before attending today’s workshop?
- 33% [3/9] — ‘not at all confident’
- 11% [1/9] — ‘hardly confident’
- 44% [4/9] — ‘somewhat confident’
- 11% [1/9] — ‘very confident’
Do you feel more confident in using these tools/understanding design principles now?
- 100% [9/9] — Yes
Do you feel like you could put the skills you’ve learnt today into practice?
- 100% [9/9] — Yes
What was/were your favourite part(s) of the day?
- 11% [1/9] — ‘intro to design’
- 33% [3/9] — ‘social media design’
- 33% [3/9] — ‘logo design’
- 44% [4/9] — ‘practicing my fab new skills’
- 55% [5/9] — ‘meeting new people’
- 77% [7/9] — ‘finding out about chayn/ammal
- 22% [2/9] — ‘lunch’
Overall, what rating would you give your experience today?
- 100% [9/9] — 5/5
Would you recommend this course to a friend?
- 100% [9/9] — Yes
“It was a great session! Great to hear that women are trying to help other women and changing attitudes etc.”
“Thank you very much for holding the workshop. I have a better understanding of tools for making digital things better.”
“I had a fantastic time — a Saturday morning and afternoon well spent :) Thank you for organising and volunteering your time!”
Wordpress for Beginners
Only one person filled out our feedback form though there was feedback on Twitter which is written below. Getting feedback while graduates are still at the course is an important part of our learning from doing Ammal and is in the Challenges section.
“It’s going really well. I’ve been meaning to set up my website. I’ve tried doing online courses but I really needed someone to explain Wordpress to me in person. I’m really glad I came today because It’s giving me confidence to set up my website now.”
“Thank you to @ChaynHQ & @k_axelander for a brilliant day gaining confidence in Wordpress. I’m looking forward to sharing my new knowledge!”
“Currently at the @ChaynHQ wordpress workshop!!! Enjoying and Learning!! Yaaay!! #ammalio #katealexander”
“Thank you for this workshop, it’s been a huge help to me.”
You can hear from Ammal graduates who took the ‘Getting Hired’ and ‘Design 101’ course in Feb/March 2016 about how it went here.
You can read Jess’s blog on her reflection from launching the first workshop for Ammal here.
Our Pay It Forward Guide (How to teach your own Ammal Workshop) can be found here.
In November, we launched the Pakistan chapter of Ammal with a bootcamp of four workshops in Lahore. Our aim was to provide equitable access to career skills, tailored to the unique socioeconomic conditions of Pakistan. We started with a small pilot group of 10 female students between the ages of 18–24 years from a conservative women’s college. We were joined by more participants from 2 other institutes over the course of the bootcamp-including teachers and scientists! We provided them a crash course on career planning, professional development, CV writing, interview training, and the basic digital skills that support these. We kept it as hands-on as possible and encouraged discussion, which helped participants open up about the particular discrimination they face as women who wish to pursue a career in a patriarchal society. This was followed by brainstorming and peer advice on ways to counter this discrimination. It was heartening to see this kind of grassroots feminism in action. At the end of the bootcamp, the attendees expressed much more confidence in their career skills, and were gutted there weren’t more classes coming up! They also volunteered as speakers for future bootcamps.
- Getting more refuges and women’s charities on board to refer their members to us
- Getting women to pay it forward and get other women in their communities upskilled
- Getting more feedback from women who attended our workshops
- Incentivising graduates to let us know when they’ve passed on their skills or attending the course led to something good
- Coming up with a strategy that tracks the impact of graduates ‘paying-it-forward’
- Keeping the community alive on Slack, Facebook and Twitter
- Getting more high school aged girls to attend our workshops
- Having a diverse group of women from marginalised communities attend our workshops
- Creating a gamification system to Ammal that issues learners with badges/rewards
- Attracting the numbers of participants to attend our workshops
- Garnering response from schools and NGO’s we reached out to, inviting them to our workshops
- Recording videos to present on the Ammal website as learning materials
- Finding other venues to hold ammal workshops
- Recruiting volunteers in Pakistan to help with Ammal PK
- Fixing the pay it forward system. We’re collaborating with MakeSense on doing service design workshop to figure out how to incentivise attendees.
- Popularising Ammal.io courses so people can still sign up to them and discuss them in the Ammal slack.
- Scale Ammal so it can replicated nationally, and globally
- We’re hosting more workshops and training our graduates to deliver them in the next few months!
STAY IN THE LOOP WITH AMMAL