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PONToon Virtual Symposium: Digital Innovation and Female Empowerment

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PONToon Virtual Symposium will feature talks and practical workshops led by industry experts, entrepreneurs and academics.

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The University of Portsmouth UK (leading 11 partners in the €5.8 million ERDF Interreg France (Channel) England programme) will host an innovative, international online symposium on Tuesday 1st December 2020 to explore digital learning and female empowerment as part of the interdisciplinary project that supports women’s economic inclusion. So far PONToon has proudly upskilled and helped into employment 1,462 women in southern England and northern France.

PONToon Virtual Symposium: Digital Innovation and Female Empowerment will take place on one day as part of a 3-month long final exhibition, hosted by UK project partner Aspex Gallery along side events in France. The symposium will feature talks and practical workshops led by entrepreneurs, academics, activists, community leaders and creatives. The topics covered on the day will enhance PONToon’s findings, drawing on methods learned through the project's many workshops such as Train the Trainer and Digital Upskilling. These include:

● What the new Covid-19 landscape means for the future of women’s wellbeing, working, learning and creativity

● The impact of digital technology on female equality and activism in the world

● Design and testing of a digital toolkit (including virtual reality apps) to assist with job-seeking and confidence-building

● Training and mentoring teachers of digital and entrepreneurial skills

● Future scoping for the sustainability of PONToon and its replicability for other potential projects in other countries.

Participants can access the online content and join workshops and discussions via online platforms.

For audiences unable to attend the event virtually on the day, all footage of workshops and webinars will be available via the project’s website.

The PONToon project is in the final stages of three and a half years of work with women in English and French communities who include those who are furthest from the labour market. Across this time EU partners, stakeholders and trainers have been working closely with women to train them in ICT skills, CV building, interview skills, photography, filmmaking, creative writing, business and social media use. Although the project’s reach across the UK and France is yet to be fully realised, the online symposium is an opportunity to celebrate the project’s achievements, the relevance of which, now in these extraordinary times, could not have been predicted.

Speaking about the symposium, PONToon Principal Investigator and keynote speaker at the symposium, Professor Joan Farrer said:

“Historically the technological sector has been seen as a male-dominated zone of employment. PONToon’s main goal is to create a digital toolkit that will help women to develop skills and be better prepared for employment.

“We’re really excited to be hosting the symposium, which we hope will serve as a platform and showcase for PONToon as the project moves into its final stages.”

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