The Technical and Vocational Training Centre 99 (TVCT 99) is a vocational training center based in an industrial area of Mexico City.1 Providing a range of TVET courses in topics including automobile repair, secretarial skills and computer skills, it is partly funded by the municipal and national governments, as well as international donors, through a partnership with POETA (see POETA case study). POETA is a Trust for the Americas initiative, and its purpose “is to engage low-income populations in jobs and provide them with skills that will allow them to have a better life.”2 POETA works with existing non-governmental organizations (NGOs).
The ICT courses for persons with disabilities at TVET 99 cover:
• Beginner computer concepts,
• MS Office suite;
• Internet browsing and searching,
Courses are divided into four, 120-hour blocks with course manuals adapted from those donated by Microsoft. The POETA computer room contains a range of computer equipment and Assistive Technologies (ATs) as follows:
Computers running Windows 98 and XP,
A digital projector (donated by the local municipal government),
AT for persons with motor impairments, including large, programmable keyboards and trackball mice. This AT is kept locked away when not in use. The Centre staff also adapted a mouse for use by one participant who uses two manual prosthetics -- an example of how low-cost adaptive solutions can be developed locally.
AT for persons with vision impairment, including evaluation versions of JAWS and MAGic, both of which require the computer to be restarted every 40 minutes to continue their use.
The POETA computer room is located on the ground floor of the complex, and is accessible by small ramps. An accessible bathroom is provided next door with a painted line leading from the bathroom to the POETA computer room. Local public transportation is not wheelchair-accessible, and most participants have a long commute of up to two hours.
Two teachers give classes during two, two-hour periods in the afternoon, with nine students in each class. The participants are young teens, adults, older persons and persons with motor, auditory, visual and learning disabilities, as well as persons with chronic illnesses. Course applicants are screened and required to have a basic level of education -- up to primary school level. The Centre does not enroll persons with severe cognitive disabilities, which the Centre has “determined it does not have the capacity to serve.”3 Participants are charged a nominal fee of MXP 65 (approximately USD 5), compared with a fee of approximately MXP 400-500 (USD 30 – 38) for other non-POETA supported courses. While participants receive an official certification document from the Public Education Secretariat for course attendance, both staff and participants expressed their preference for certification from a private, industry-recognized organization such as a Microsoft certification.
POETA classes also include a 40-hour course in workplace preparedness and skills in how to search and apply for a job. These skills include creating a resume and interview techniques. This training covers themes such as self-esteem, attitudes and self-presentation. The TASCHA study4 found that, in general, training in these softer skills is well received by participants, who feel they receive confidence and motivation from this aspect of the training.
There are no figures available from the study on the numbers of course participants who received a job placement after training. However, interviews with employers in the area, and participants themselves, indicate a strong emphasis on the need and value of certification during the job interview process.
1Information on TVET based on research by the Technology and Social Change Group, University of Washington. 2009 Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities. Available at http://change.washington.edu/2010/01/technology-for-employability-in-latin-america-research-with-at-risk-youth-people-with-disabilities/
3TASCHA. Page 35
4Technology and Social Change Group, University of Washington. 2009 Technology for employability in Latin America: Research with at-risk youth & people with disabilities. Available at http://change.washington.edu/2010/01/technology-for-employability-in-latin-america-research-with-at-risk-youth-people-with-disabilities/