ODF – Our Digital Future
Due to COVID-19 organisations across Europe have had to make rapid changes to how they operate accelerating their digital transformation which is filled with a promise of new occupations and improved quality of life for all but also points towards the risk of widening the skills gaps and greater inequality. Whilst increasing rates of youth unemployment of 14% across Europe (Statista, 2020) remains a challenge at the same time businesses of all types and sizes are struggling to fill a wide range of technology roles that are critical for future growth. The EU Digital Skills and Job Coalition confirms that 37% of EU workers have insufficient digital skills and there are clear signs that the digital skills gap is widening. By 2022, there could be almost 500,000 unfilled digital technology jobs in Europe. On the other hand, young people are described as “digital natives” with an almost instinctive skill for digital mastery. Unfortunately, young people believe they are ill-equipped to navigate the new economy and to understand the skills needed for the future, digital jobs. There is also a significant mismatch between the career aspirations of young people and reality of the jobs market due to misinformation and a lack of high quality career advice which needs to be elevated by showcasing information about future roles. The World Economic Forum Reports 2018 on Future of Jobs stresses the importance of VET career advisors in preparing young people to become the new agile learners in future workforces by providing a high quality career advice that is essential to personal and economic wellbeing. Finally, in the light of COVID-19 the career guidance provision is becoming even more crucial and there is a need for a digital platform that can assist VET career advisors to provide a high quality career provision featuring the future digital job trends.
The partnership of Our Digital Future is a response to the above described challenges and the partnership focuses on working with:
- 80 VET career advisors working at VET institutions who provide group and individual career sessions online to young people,
- 16 Experts (scientists, policy makers, start ups, businesses) currently specialising in the emerging, digital jobs within blockchain technologies, alternative energy consultancy, 3D printing, food technology, robotics, cyber security, virtual reality design and artificial intelligence development,
- 40 Other VET stakeholders and decision makers who are in position of the influence in relation to the future emerging jobs and can shape the importance of high quality career advice and guidance.
The key outcomes of the project are:
- Contributing to the initial and continuous professional development of VET career advisors by providing them with an accessible information to strengthen their understanding of the Future digital job trends in the labour market within 8 innovative sectors,
- Supporting the uptake of digital practices for the teaching by supplying VET career advisors with a set of resources on a digital platform and an app to deliver group and individual career sessions online featuring the future digital job trends,
- Creating an opportunity for VET career advisors to exchange innovative practices with each other and share digital tools,
- Raising awareness among other VET stakeholders and decision makers about the future emerging jobs and the importance of relevant career advice.
For that reason, Our Digital Future partnership will collaborate to create a set of innovative practices:
- 32 visual infographics showcasing key trends, skill requirements, job profiles in relation to the new emerging, digital roles across Europe within 8 innovative sectors,
- 16 video interviews with experts and professionals specialising in the digital emerging new roles across Europe accompanied by 16 lesson career advice plans incorporating the videos and promoting the 8 innovative sectors,
- 1 digital platform and 1 app with set of digital functionalities: creation of login/avatar, interactive content display, a virtual networking room.
Our Digital Future project contributes to the EU Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition’s pledge as the intellectual outputs created within the project are promoting the acquisition of digital skills amongst Europeans and the project implementation will result in:
- raising an understanding about future digital jobs,
- increasing the professionalism of provided career advice by VET career advisors to young people in an online format,
- influencing educational systems to develop future talent to match the needs of employers and digital economy,
- boosting interest and capacity of VET career advisors to promote digital future jobs.