Programme Manager at Simbioza Genesis
Years in service as e-facilitator: 6
Number of people supported / trained: 27 000
Katja Pleško joined Simbioza in early 2011, where she developed materials and tutorials for a new branch of informal education: seniors in digital society. She joined the team as a student of Mathematics at University of Ljubljana and later on as a Master student of Faculty of Economics and with time became a full-time employee. She is in charge of all programme content for digital training within Simbioza as well as for coordinating Simbioza Digital Academy (digital workshops for individuals and companies).
Her work includes more than 10 modules on digital literacy workshops, yearly video tutorials for nationwide Simbioza e-facilitators, catalogue of Simbioza workshops for companies, online instructions for volunteers and three handbooks for seniors with a workbook. Besides content management she is also teaching Office programs and coding (HTML, Joomla, Scratch for kids) to young people (5-12yrs; 16-35;) and employees of various organizations. Katja also holds an ECDL certificate.
Katja's expertise goes beyond planning as she is also the key person for scaling of Simbioza's programme content. Nationwide projects of e-literacy offered organic scaling where currently Katja independently develops advanced e-skills trainings and programme content for e-Simbioz@ e-Skills for all (2015, 2016), Ypsilon Youth (2014), Simbioza Masters program (2014-ongoing), Simbioza with Roma youth and all nationwide actions on e-literacy, where all programs include applied use of e-skills.
Based on evaluation process, developed by Katja, Simbioza scales activities to other groups: providing e-skills to kids, youth and job seekers as well as people with less opportunities (Roma, drop-outs). Methodology with seniors is based on intergenerational cooperation, whereas empowering youth goes through interactive peer to peer teaching. Learning resources within Katja's management include Textbooks (print/digital, video), Workbooks, Educational online games (eg. Scratch) and website content engagement.
ONE OF A KIND
Katja started to develop curricula for e-skills tutorials as a student in 2011 and developed a completely new innovative methodology together with the team of peers from social work and pedagogical studies. At the time there was no existing tutorials or ways to teach seniors how to get online. The method is based on innovative learning, where young people are teachers and seniors are pupils. Katja and her team did several pilot testings and as Simbioza evolved into a social business, it is a solid proof of concept: teaching through intergenerational cooperation, and at the same time empowering young people with advanced e-skills and tools.
After 3 years of Simbioza, National Statistical Office gave results that e-literacy of seniors increased three times between 2009-2013. Within other programmes there were nearly 50% of participants who got a job after the training. Katja regularly receives informal messages of satisfaction from participants saying they got a better business orientation.
Katja developed an initiative together with National Employment Agency to include young people with fewer opportunities, who were long-term unemployed, into an intensive training. Simbioza Masters programme included 280-hours of building e-skills and soft skills. Within 4 months of training, participants had an obligatory module of practical work. Katja is a representative of generation Y, and this programme included underprivileged youth under 30, so it was easier to correlate with the target group.
Through Katja's methodology, trainees experience functional learning and gain positive experiences of learning, which is the end goal of this project: to raise awareness on practical and functional lifelong learning which doesn’t stop after formal education. Each participant got a mentor that helped develop and reach personal/career goals. We wanted to show young people that work is a value, based on skillset of each individual that is developed throughout the professional and personal life cycle.
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