Let’s get digital – how digital skills have helped adult student Monica build her confidence online

Posted: November 21, 2023

A Leeds City College student has become one of the first women over 70 in the region to attain a digital literacy certificate.

Monica Mukanganyama, a student at Leeds City College recently completed her Howdou passport, a digital skills qualification designed to help students with minimal digital literacy progress.

At least 25% of people aged 65 and over in West Yorkshire lack essential digital skills, meaning many of them are at risk of losing access to key services such as banking, shopping and health services, as well as communication platforms that keep them connected.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Monica, a former nurse, came to the UK in the early 2000s and worked in the healthcare sector.

Reminding herself of where she was only a few years ago, Monica recalls not having a phone or ever using a laptop and relying on ‘letters from the postman’.

“I come from a disadvantaged background and therefore was not exposed to any digital technology. I am also from a generation where everything was handwritten.

“In today’s technology-driven world, it has become important to have knowledge of digital literacy. By learning essential digital skills, it has helped me use a range of devices including a computer and mobile phone.”

Monica, who enrolled at the college in 2018- praised her tutors for supporting her and opening her eyes to new ways of studying.

“The college has been supportive. Despite my age they have been welcoming and helped me through every level.

“I am really enjoying my course and appreciate the opportunities I have been given to learn and get involved in class activities, especially being the eldest in my class.”

Monica said she took on a digital course so that she can support her daughter with her business in the long term.

“Everything is now online and I want to catch up with technology and support my daughter and grandchildren with their homework. I also travel a lot and I have found how useful being able to use my mobile phone and computer is.”

Monica encouraged those who have been out of education and looking to return, to be motivated by her story.

“It is never too late. Learning never ends and the sky’s the limit. Every day is a learning experience and I am so grateful that I took a chance because it has changed my life for the better.”

Over the last year, approximately 3,500 Howdou badges have been awarded to students at Leeds City College and 14 learners have received a certificate and ‘workspace whizz’ pin badge for completing all 34 tutorials.

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