A VERY SPECIAL PROJECT

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Hector Cotelo

Back in April, we  started ‘Let’s go programming, young people’ a Plan Ceibal project which Quanam both supports and promotes, assigning some of our consultant’s hours to teach and train the young in Business Intelligence techniques and tools.

Initially, there were five groups in charge of it: four in Montevideo and one in San José. Later, they were joined by another group and Artigas.

Few weeks after kick-off, I fell in love with the project, undoubtedly,   the most motivating one I have ever participated in, so far.

The program’s mission is to give young people the opportunity to develop their knowledge in order to expand their employment possibilities, particularly in IT, an industry with high employment demand.

Let's say it is 'win-win', because young people are trained to be inserted in the labour market and the industry covers its high demand with trained people.

At this 8-month course,  students learn the tools they need to start working in the technological sector. We taught BI, but there are also courses on Genius, Python, Web Development, .NET and testing.

Odoo - Sample 1 for three columns

Odoo - Sample 2 for three columns

It is a free course and no experience is needed to participate. The only requirements are to be between 17 and 26 years old and having passed the basic cycle of secondary education (3 years of high school or UTU /technological university/).
Given its openness, the programme is highly inclusive, as groups are formed throughout the country, and in turn, students come from various places, with different demeanours and lifestyles.
Week after week, they receive a 6-hour tuition: 4 focus on the technical part (Business Intelligence in our case), 1 on English and 1 to transversal competences' development (commitment, decision-making, communication, time management, team work, creativity, curriculum vitae, planning a job interview, etc.).

The three parts are essential for the integral formation of each student, and they are carried out with devoted technical and English tutors,  but thanks to the group leaders’major efforts who daily support and stand by students throughout their process.

The programme’s scalability and scope are aimed at reaching a large number of students from all over the country. Therefore, students who gather in an educational centre, have a group leader, whereas technical and English teachers usually connect by video conferencing, taking advantage of Ceibal network.

One of the reasons why the project was so motivating for me,  was working with a “dream team.” 

Quanam made available several of our most experienced consultants: Gigliola Yemini, Gustavo Mesa, Federico Balsa, Pablo Cuadro and Martín Cal. “Junior” Cal has been the last member of staff who joined Quanam, and it makes 7 years he has been a consultant! 

Had it not been for the team’s seniority, resorting to its poise and expertise, giving their best to make things work out, the course would not have been so successful. 

Certainly enough, we are not the best teachers of the world, and we have made lots of mistakes, but what students actually met was a group of people, who were professional at their work, and acted out of passion and affection.

Odoo - Sample 1 for three columns

Odoo - Sample 2 for three columns

We strived to make all lessons useful and give students something to sleep on. 

Many thanks to group leaders too! They were extraordinary!
 
Lucías, Vignoli and Doreste, Lucila Fernández, Lorena Rodríguez and Rita Marquisio, thank you so much for your good vibe and always helping us in-situ, on the other side of the screen, to make the most of the lessons, in spite of the problems due to distance.

One reason why this project so motivating for me was working with a team, 100% committed to the task, always prioritising kids But it was not the only one.

It also meant overcoming the challenge of a new experience. Although I had already taught face-to-face at the Catholic University, my former students had been young people of the same age, on average, who had met and passed secondary education requirements. Whereas this project involved distance teaching a completely heterogeneous group of people, with vastly different theoretical backgrounds.

Overall, what really turned me on, was the social scope of the project. I love helping people and being  useful for the community by making my own contributions to foster equality and equip people to meet real job opportunities. In my case, it was moving from discourse to practice.

I believe it is my responsibility, and that everybody should make their best to have a better country. Quoting Admiral Horatio Nelson: “England expects every man performs their duty.”

Nowadays, in Uruguay, 1 out of 2 people are born in vulnerable social contexts. If we do not act, their destiny seems to have been plotted since birth, unchangeable, for only 13 out of 100 finish highschool. Only because they do not have the same opportunities as other people.

Moreover, consequences are profoundly serious: in a world where knowledge is highly valued, it is exceedingly difficult for them to find a formal and well-paid job.

This is why, ‘Let’s go programming, young people’ is an extremely valuable project for it creates new opportunities for everyone who joins in. So much so, two former students are already working at Quanam.

Finally, I would like to thank the people who allowed me to be part of this heart-warming project (specially the students who had to bear by me) which was as good on me, or even better than on them.
It was an honour for me to share this year with you! Cheers!