We hope that this programme will bring people with disabilities into the economy, transforming their employment situation.
BRIDGING THE DIGITAL SKILLS AND LITERACY GAP
“We’ll get back to you” is a phrase Everland student Svetlana Pavlikova hopes to hear less of in future. A graduate in Information Security from Moscow’s National Research Nuclear University MEPhl, Svetlana, who has cerebral palsy, describes the casual brush-off, “then silence”, as depressingly familiar during past job searches. “I can’t say refusals came because of my disability – employers have no right to say so – but I think people were afraid of potential problems.”
Now, with a qualification in Multimedia Content, achieved on the Everland programme, Svetlana feels positive about the future and “the opportunity to find a steady job, earn decent money, gain experience and make progress.”
The 29-year-old counts herself as fortunate in having a fulfilling career in her sights. Of the approximately 12 million* people living with disabilities in Russia, only a third** of those of working age have jobs, with many of the country’s disabled college graduates lacking the professional skills needed to improve their employability***.
To address this need, the Everland platform, supported by VEON operating company Beeline Russia, enables graduates with disabilities to boost their digital skills, with a focus on media and communications.
Through the online platform, and supported by personal mentors – many themselves disabled – participants in Russia and in some other CIS countries, can take courses in web design and development, video production, internet marketing and content creation.
In partnership with social enterprise Everland, Beeline Russia completed the pilot phase in 2019, training 224 participants, of which 38 had graduated at time of writing. Beeline Russia is also providing pro-bono support including advisors, mentors, SEO specialists and web designers, in addition to training materials and marketing.
“The project’s global mission is to eliminate inequality regarding disability. The platform will enable distance working both independently and as part of an expert team and contribute to serious progress in solving this important issue nationwide,” says Evgenia Chistova, Head of Sustainable Development, VimpelCom PJSC (Beeline). She adds that the programme will help support UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) by facilitating inclusive employment.
Meanwhile, Svetlana sees her confidence soaring thanks to Everland’s rigorous but supportive environment. “Many of the Everland employees are people with disabilities, so they have first-hand experience of the obstacles we face. Importantly, while understanding and accepting a person’s disabilities, they are also highly focused on efficient work and results.”