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ICT Trainers Ru’a and Noor share their thoughts on DIP Jordan cohort 2!

With barely a moment’s rest, our ICT trainers are preparing their intro slides once again for DIP Jordan cohort 2! This new cohort has 36 students from an array of country and educational backgrounds – but all share an eagerness to learn more about the world of digital freelance.

We sat down with Ru’a and Noor to take a pulse check on how they are feeling about the new cohort. We asked about lessons learned, what they expect with the new cohort, and what they intend for the future!

Ru’a and Noor’s interview has been lightly edited for clarity and accuracy. 

Qn: How are you feeling about starting the DIP again with the new cohort?

Ru’a: First of all we feel very confident. We have finished with our first trial, we are more aware of the curriculum and how we are going to implement it. We have the experience so now we are more prepared for the second cohort. We are really excited, actually. The students seem very motivated and the level of education is very good. They have a really good background so we are counting on that also. 

Noor: I feel happy about finishing successfully with the first cohort, so yeah, I think the second cohort will be more effective. I think that the refugees, our students, will find some jobs earlier [in the program] and not at the end of exams. So maybe we will work together with them to create [online freelancer] profiles before the end of the six months.

Qn: What other takeaways do you have, things that worked well or things that didn’t, that you are looking to continue with the new cohort?

Noor: As we said, some stages [of the program, such as creating freelancer profiles] will be earlier than the past cohort. The second thing is that we know exactly what the students are thinking so sometimes we, for example, we tell them about some rules that maybe they will face in the future [of the curriculum]. So in the earlier stages we tell them about this, go ahead down this path, to prepare them. 

Ru’a: Also, let's look at some hardships that we had with the first cohort that we are trying to avoid. We are trying to be more clear with the students so they can expect what they will see. We don't want to just tell them everything is really going to be fine when later it might not be, so they will have a more realistic view. There's a lot of things we learned from the first one, so we are trying to avoid most of [the hard parts] and encourage more of the good things. Some we can’t avoid – every cohort is going to have its own surprises [laughs].

Qn: What lessons did you learn from the previous DIP cohort that you will carry forward into the current cohort? 

Noor: I think some of them are out of our control, like for example opening up the bank account [can be very hard with refugee documentation only]. Something like this – you can't control. But some things we can. For example we will create [freelancer] profiles before the end of the course and we will follow up [with our students] in the earlier stages [to troubleshoot profile creation blocks]. Also, for example, we will send more extended resources that are more powerful and efficient.

Ru’a: Also you know technology is always updating. So for the last cohort we had some specialties that are going to be dead right now. So we are focusing on not giving attention to those skills and looking into new technology needed for new jobs that are very trendy right now.

Noor: For example, we are focusing on marketing, AI, and special technology that is not [yet] in the curriculum. We are trying to focus on these points.

Qn: That is how it goes with technology. Every single day there is some new job, some new update, and suddenly you need to change the things that you need to teach. 

Ru’a: Well this is something we tell our students – the key is that you need to keep yourself updated. Especially with digital work, it's very very fast moving, you need to be updated.

Qn: Is there a particular part of the course you think the students will enjoy?

Ru’a: Excel. Excel I think.

Noor: And some of them are interested in image and video editing. How to edit images, how to create something. 

Qn: I am surprised that your students like Excel so much, but I guess it is useful.

Ru’a: Yeah, Excel is very common. It's very useful and most of the students need to know how to use it. So they enjoy it. Also there are some fun exercises.

Noor: Also in some of the sections [of the curriculum] we learn how to do some strange things – some things that are not very common. So they get to know the tips and tricks. But there are other common things, like Word. The last cohort liked the section on Word [in the curriculum].

Qn: ​Having gone through the program once before, what is the one piece of advice you would give to students just starting out?

Ru’a: First of all they need to work very hard to practice all the things that they like, for themselves. That is the best advice I can give. Every day you should work on yourself. Everyday you should give yourself at least three hours to develop your skills. I always tell my students, if you want to come and go [to this DIP classroom] for six months it's okay, it's up to you. But if you are not going to study and work on yourself and upgrade yourself and develop yourself, it is not worth coming back. You need to keep updated and develop yourself constantly.

Noor: [In the beginning of the course] We ask them, are you sure you are committed to six months with lots of exercises, a lot of assignments, a lot of reading, a lot listening and learning from videos, youtube videos, and on other platforms and learning sites. If they say okay, and guarantee they have time to make the effort to learn, then we say okay, you are in the right place.

Qn: What are you looking forward to with this group of students? 

Ru’a: First of all, I am looking forward to the students dedicating time to develop themselves. I am looking forward to them finding real jobs so they can actually earn money. This is the main thing. I am also looking forward to them learning how to be updated. Because if you feel that you know the ways, they can gain enough confidence to be whatever they want. I am also looking forward to them having more hope. Because that is one of the purposes of this program, and for all JRS communities. If you have lost hope you have lost everything.

Noor: Also, I tell my students, whatever you have – a degree, maybe from a university or a diploma from school, if you have a PHD, whatever – if you have a skill to work online, you are in the right place. Whatever your qualifications are, you can start from this point and learn more and more and receive the help and support.

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