By Gabriela Ruseva (ALL DIGITAL)
#pathways4employ partners met in Dublin on 18th-19th October for the 3rd transnational meeting of the project at the premises of our Irish partner FIT ltd. FIT helps long-term unemployed people throughout Ireland to land on a career in the ICT field by providing fast track courses in hands-on ICT skills required by the labour market. They work in close collaboration with ICT industry and most Irish-based tech companies sit on their Board.
Halfway through the pathways4employ project, we have already achieved a lot. We surveyed more than 100 entrepreneurs and virtual office workers to find out what digital skills they need to succeed. We analysed those according to the DigComp Framework, and based on this evidence we created the digital competence profiles for entrepreneur and virtual office workers – the ideal combination of digital competences that anyone who wants to become entrepreneur or to work from distance should have. Our lead partner Tecnalia had already started developing our online platform and assessment tools (online tests) and all other partners were excited to see the first version! The platform has a great look and feel, but there’s still a lot of work ahead of us before we reach our goal – develop online assessment tools tailored to entrepreneurs and virtual office workers to help them see where they stand with regard to the “ideal” competence profile. We kicked-off this phase of the work with a productive brainstorming session.
We want to test digital competences against scenarios coming from the real workplace. So, to design the questions for the tests (or as we call them in technical jargon “assessment items”) we thought about actual everyday situations, which entrepreneurs and virtual office workers will inevitably encounter, such as registering their company, organising an online meeting and connecting to safe wireless networks. Questions in the test will be knowledge based and will include multiple choice questions, but also practical tasks that the user will have to perform according to the instructions, such as downloading and working in an excel file or creating a document in google docs.
In the following months, we will work to develop the assessment items in detail. We will have one test per competence area: Information and data literacy; Communication and collaboration; Digital content creation; Safety and problem solving (see DigComp 2.1 for more info on the 5 competence areas). Each test will be of approx. 20 mins and users will be able to take the tests one at a time. With this, we aim to avoid lengthy tests of several hours where the results are affected because the user got tired of the test and wants to get to the end faster.
After taking the test, the users (entrepreneurs and virtual office workers) will know which digital skills of the “ideal” competence profile they possess, and where they need to improve. This will fill a huge gap in today’s labour market. Many people today admit that are afraid they might lose their job or that they will not be competitive on the market because they are not up-to-date with technology. But at the same time, they don’t know what they need to learn to be up-to-date, and moreover, what skills are needed for their specific job.
We are expecting the first version of the platform and the assessment tools to be launched in February 2018. Then we will pilot it is with the users and improve. The assessment tools will be available in English, Latvian, Greek and Spanish. We will keep you posted on our progress!