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Many special people have completed the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) qualification, however ex-radio presenter and a specialist in radio broadcasting, Adrian Davids from Eersteriver in the Western Cape, is the first blind student to obtain ICDL certification. ICDL certification is internationally recognised as the global standard in end-user computer skills and is fast becoming the de facto standard adopted by many education institutions.

Adrian, who already has numerous qualifications to his name, including audio engineering, radio broadcasting and song writing, chose to embark on the ICDL programme when he heard that the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB) was offering various courses, one of which one was ICDL. He completed all seven modules of ICDL within a 10 week period - a remarkable achievement when one considers his circumstances.

“I wanted to enhance my skills in the ICT field especially in applications such as Word Processing and Spreadsheets, and I knew, with the ICDL qualification, I would be able to perform more effectively in a working environment. In addition, I believe the ICDL qualification will assist me in finding employment in the fields of data capturing, administration etc,” he said.

Currently a volunteer for the CTSB where he already assists with many of the society’s administrative functions, Adrian also helps fellow learners who are studying for their ICDL qualification. “The new skills I have learnt through ICDL have helped me to understand the applications one works with on a daily basis. In addition I am now able to complete work as efficiently as an able bodied person and my desire is to complete the ICDL Advanced Course and continue studying in the IT and business fields,” he said.

Jennifer van Niekerk, the chief executive officer of ICDL South Africa, said many employers were progressively relying on the ICDL programme, saying it is the only initiative that offers them a solution to assist their employees. “Many are making the ICDL qualification mandatory in their organisations,” said van Niekerk.

Van Niekerk said that after completing the ICDL programme, studies have proven that users can save time and money for their employers. In addition, ICDL has been shown to raise crucial IT proficiency levels, raise confidence in ICT use, provide internationally-recognised qualifications, improve job opportunities, job mobility and to provide a springboard from which to move on to higher-level IT education.

Visually impaired and blind learners have been enrolled in the ICDL course since February 2005. Stephen Hibbert, skills developer at the CTSB said 11 blind learners and 20 visually impaired learners have already received their ICDL Start certificates and four learners will receive their ICDL certificate this year, of which Adrian is the first blind learner to achieve this qualification.

“For the past 10 years ICDL South Africa has worked to raise the level of ICT skills in society, to increase users’ confidence in computer usage and to enable access to the information society for all citizens,” said van Niekerk.

Tags: Europe ECDL in Society Case Studies