Telecentre-Europe (TE) supports the network of European public ICT learning centres (also called "telecentres") in municipalities, NGOs, libraries & education venues by fostering knowledge sharing and learning amongst its members & to increase the impact and effectiveness of the centres throughout Europe
The Spanish network of telecentres Guadalinfo and our partner organisation Telecentre.org are organising this Friday, March 7th in Andalucia, Spain an event on telecentres and innovation titled “SparkLAB Andalucía”.
Sponsored by the Spanish telecommunications giant Telefónica, the event is a continuation of the international SparkLAB initiative, a movement initiated by Telecentre.org, the International Telecommunication Union and The “Generalitat de Catalunya” to encourage the evolution of telecentres from their current status as public centres for ICT learning towards telecnetres as hubs for innovation, digital inclusion and entrepreneurship.
Who should attend or participate online?
The event is geared towards the telecentre community and beyond: those intrested in innovation-specifically in the field of social innovatiom, but also mentors, managers, government officals, NGOs…in short, all the actors with a stake in the future of the telecentre community around the world. The event is not limited in scope to Spain but also combines global phenomena, practical showcases and methodological analysis, with current trends and lessons learned.
Entrepreneuship, Creativity and Technology
Participants will have the chance to attend a number of streamed video conferences:
The last 50 years in Europe have witnessed the growth of an ageing population. Coupled with the integration of even more women into the work force, the phenomenon has left an employment gap in the home care sector, often filled with informal and non-declared work, mostly done by unskilled migrant female workers. But the situation has also brought opportunities for ICT to enter the home and provide new solutions to old problems.
In EU policy the care sector is a target of a number of European projects, with the “CareNet project” being one of them. The project partners held the final conference titled “ICT and e-skills for social care” this Wednesday February 26th in the Brussels Press Club. At the event a participative and enthusiastic group of civil society organisation representatives debated how ICT can help improve the lives of the projects’ two target groups: care workers and the elderly.
The conference was moderated by project officer Laure Llermet of the French-based Iperia Institute with Telecentre Europe acting as the host organisation in Brussels. For a full list of partners in the project please visit www.carenetproject.eu. Those interested in the conference will find the recording of the whole conference (it was streamed in Adobe connect) on the project website.
ICT skills concern not only the elderly but also their carers
ICT is only the enabler
The conference keynote was delivered by Ms. Marie-Beatrice Levaux from the newly created European Federation for New Family and Household Employment, who provided an inspiring overview of the many issues at hand. According to Ms. Levaux, the demand for adequate and flexible homecare solutions is on the rise: the sector has a potential to employ up to 20 million people by 2020 in the following years. However, many of the caregiver jobs will not be declared as such by their employers, and the profession itself is not sufficiently recognised by society. All of this causes carers to be excluded from opportunities to improve their skills. In that sense, both formal trainings and informal opportunities to engage carers in ICT competencies will surely constitute a step into the right direction. Ms. Nena Georgantzi, from the AGE platform, stated in her intervention that bringing ICT to the homes of the elderly and care recipients in general is not about “replacing carers by robots”- it is rather making sure that technology can do what it is best suited for, while the carer makes sure all the rest needs are being met. In that sense “ICT is only the enabler” of already existing processes and needs.
A participant adressing the panel at the conference
The CareNET project indeed addresses a very specific area of concern: the types of ICT skills which carers and the elderly would benefit from most in their daily life. Competencies that in the long run may influence for the better the quality of care received, the professionalization of care workers and the social inclusion of both groups into society. One of the results of the project has been to map the common and specific digital competencies of care workers and the elderly .
CareNET from theory to practice
The experience of the CareNET project in the different piloting countries has shown that older people and care workers can learn in a virtual learning environment (i.e. Moodle platform), that they are motivated to learn and that the carers are motivated to work and bring the best quality of care to their recipients. The piloting experience has also shown that each local context is different and has to be always taken into account when devising methodology and resources. More importantly, ICT – the hardware and software itself- have to be accessible, affordable in order to empower and remove barriers for social care.
A leader of another European project with the same topic and scope as the CareNET project, stressed that in the case of bringing ICT skills to the elderly it is very important to give them the chance to explain what they need and like doing, and only then bring about the concrete learning opportunities with the exact ICT skills that can fill their needs.Some participants also raised the question of who will pay for bringing the technology to the elderly, as the majority of the elderly in Europe cannot afford the technology.
Another speaker reminded the audience hat the needs elderly have are not only related to problems and health, but also to the basic need of having fun and being included in social activities with others, be they presential or at a distance. Someone also suggested to bring the beneficiaries of the projects themselves- the elderly and the caretakers- to conference and workshops on the topic in order to review research from a practical standpoint.
The Microsoft centre is a modern and spacious building, which opens the doors to a new era of collaboration between Microsoft and its stakeholders for the benefit of Europe’s youth.
Telecentre Europe was one of the invitees to the Grand Opening of the Microsoft Centre in Brussels earlier this week. The event served as the official opening of the Microsoft centre to young people in Brussels who will be its main beneficiaries, but also to stakeholders from the Brussels arena: non-profit European associations, High-level Commission officials and others who have an interest in Microsoft YouthSpark in Europe and the challenging area of youth unemployment and e-skills mismatch.
The keynotes were given by the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso who addressed the audience through video, stating that job creation is the European Commission’s number one priority and “without ICT there is no innovation”. László Andor, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion made the introductory speech referring numerous times to the high number of available jobs in the ICT sector.
The Brussels case
Minister of Economy and Employment in the Brussels-Capital Region, Céline Fremault also spoke at the event, which marked the occasion for co-signing with Microsoft a continuation of their fruitful collaboration agreement for three more years. Minister Fremaut said that in Brussels alone there are 3.000 ICT jobs available for young people that remain unfilled. With widespread unemployment among its youth, the Microsoft centre and initiatives will surely direct a number of Brussels youngsters into training and ultimately employment. The Microsoft Innovation Centre (MIC) already exists in Brussels since 2011 and is now integrated into the newly opened Microsoft centre. Microsoft Innovation centres are public-private partnerships focused on economic development that help the creation of companies in the technology sectors and accompany start-up development. Currently there are 30 MICs in Europe, with 4 of them in Belgium.
Brad Smith, Microsoft General Counsel and Executive Vice President made an inspiring speech and announced that next year Microsoft will create 9000 new paid traineeships openings in Europe. Mr. Smith also announced that Microsoft would continue providing grants to its three partner organisations from the non-profit sector, namely European youth forum, (FEJ), Junior Achievement-Young Enterprise (JA-YE) and our own organisation, Telecentre Europe.
Coding at a young age
The highlight of the event was the live connection to a primary school in Portugal where we saw pupils as young as 6 years old learn how to code. Their teacher stressed the importance of coding not only for their understanding of future ICT related challenges but also how this task encourages other soft skills such as collaboration and creativity- all incredibly important for the current and future technology-dependent workplace. Telecentre Europe member from Poland- FRSI offered a live connection with a group of teenagers in a public library, as part of the project led by FRSI called “ Link to the Future. Youth .Internet. Career”. There was a lively interaction between the remote locations and the event moderator. From 11:30 am to 12:30 the event hosted a live debate with a number of MEPs who answered video questions from European youth, live questions from the audience and social feeds.
by Masha Tarle, Communication, events and press @Telecentre Europe
Telecentre-Europe was present earlier this month at Online Educa in Berlin – the largest global conference on technology supported learning and training. The participation of Telecentre-Europe was twofold: to present Skillage, its online tool that helps users quickly assess their digital skills, and to disseminate its current Life-Long Learning project titled M4ALL, dealing with game-based learning in special education.
In its 19th year, Online Educa gathered more than 2000 delegates from 90 countries, making it a significant learning experience in itself for the delegates that saw a wide range of international practices, research, projects and platforms. The conference featured six main themes, with the Skillage presentation within the Combining Creativity, Innovation and Skills to Increase Inclusion and Employability theme and led by Telecentre-Europe’s Operations and Campaigns Manager Laurentiu Bunescu.
Throughout the event around one hundred participants took the Skillage assessment test. In fact, Skillage is much more than an assessment of the person’s digital skills: it teaches young Europeans- who are its main target audience- which digital skills are important to have in most work environments today. The tool is therefore very timely: with recent youth unemployment and the rising need of digital skills, it seems that it the next 5 years 90% of new jobs will require digital skills.
The high-level e-Government conference titled ” Where we are, where we are going” took place in Vilnius, Lithuania last 14th November in the context of the Lithuanian presideny of the EU and saw Telecentre Europe Director, Chair and two members present their organisations and activities in the session “Inclusive e-Government”. The session was the most focused one on citizen access and adoption of e-Government services.
The first speaker, Mr. Gianluca Misuraca from IPTS (a research centre of the European Commission), called the attention of the audience to the “e-government paradox”: although the offer of e-Government services in Europe has reached saturation for most common online services, the users (citizens and to a lesser extent businesses) are still more likely to use traditional methods to interact with the government.
Inclusive e-Government was defined by TE’s Director Gabriel Rissola as including all category of citizens as e-Government users (paying particular attention to those harder to reach) and focusing online government services on citizens’ concrete and more demanded needs (e.g. access to jobs or other). Both speakers stressed the fact that e-Inclusion intermediaries, like telecentres, play a crucial role to create bridges with governments and facilitate adoption of e-Services. As can be seen from the recently published MIREIA survey , telecentres and other e-inclusion intermediaries already play a significant role in approaching citizens to e-Government, specifically those that may be at risk of digital exclusion.
Some examples of existing services that were mentioned are:
- Access to e-Government information and services for those who can´t afford it
- Providing information in easy-to-understand language and with personal guidance with for example short videos on the use of e-Government services
- Specific information services for youth, unemployed and disadvantaged groups such as helping them find work
- Helping SMEs to use e-Government services
As a relevant country example, Denmark aspires to be digital by default which implies that an 80% of the communications between government and citizens should take place online by 2015. As a result, telecentres and libraries are increasingly supplying training in e-government, while a number of public and private eInclusion projects are now focused on the use of e-government services by SMEs, young people or senior citizens, to name a few.
The MIREIA survey also highlighted that more than 50% of e-inclusion intermediaries are run by public bodies (libraries, municipal centres) and that therein lies the opportunity to facilitate the e-participation of citizens especially those at risk. Another opportunity for joining efforts between e-inclusion intermediaries and government ca be found in the Local Coalitions for Digital Jobs, which are partnerships between governments, the ICT industry and the civil society and are promoted by telecentre networks across European Countries.
The other two speakers, Mara Jakobsone from LIKTA and Manus Hanratty from FIT illustrated how their organisations are promoting e-government and partnering with governments through the Local Coalitions they lead in Latvia and Ireland respectively. For conference presentations and videos, please go here.
Clara Centeno (IPTS) speaking at Spark 2013 on ICT skills and employability
Telecentre Europe was one of the co-organisers of Spark: the 4th Global Forum on Telecentres, held on May 28-29 in Granada, Spain. The event was a great success: more than 1200 participants from the information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) sector as well as private, public, and non-profit organizations from around the globe came to Granada for two days of learning, networking and sharing.
Telecentre Europe led four important panel sessions at Spark, panels that presented motivated speakers from a variety of organisations in Europe and beyond.
At the first morning session titled Telecentres: Youth, Skills and Employment Chris Coward from the University of Washington provided a background on ICT skills development and stated that the role of telecentre operators will increasingly be to facilitate ICT skills for the new jobs that are available in ICT sector. Dr Rachel Awad, from Silatech, a social initiative for youth job creation in the Arab world, talked about the high unemployment rate amongst Arab youth (25%) and how Silatech helps by career guidance programmes and partnerships with the private sector.
Clara Centeno from the Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS- European Commission) revealed three proposals for action against the risk of ICT exclusion, a problem that may affect up to 25% of youth in Europe today and prevent them from accessing ICT skills and jobs. In first place, Ms. Centeno highlighted the need to fight the digital divide which is still present in Europe, then to adopt a broad view of digital competencies (a framework has been developed by the European Commission and the next step is to start filling the enormous number of job vacancies projected in ICT sector) and lastly, there is a need to have a holistic approach to individual needs when it comes to ICT.
Manus Hanratty, from “Fast Track to IT” (FIT), the Irish member of Telecentre Europe, talked about bridging the gap between ICT job vacancies and the shortage of ICT skills through an initiative led by FIT in Ireland that began 13 years ago. They went to disadvantaged areas to train young people to enter into digital jobs. Their model was based on bringing employers and government together, using government resources to build the curriculum based on employers needs. They then set up a learning path and a support system for at least three years after the course. The result: 9000 people were put in ICT jobs! Moreover, the initiative changed perspectives on the potential of disadvantaged groups, reduction in poverty and social exclusion.
For presentation slides from the speakers, please contact our communication manager Masha Tarle.
During this 2-day event, you will get the chance to:
learn from experts in ICT for development (ICT4D)
build strategic partnerships
explore new opportunities
discover the latest technology and business models for telecentres
develop new solutions and services
showcase your work
Aside from plenary sessions, panels and workshops, Spark will also feature participatory activities and interactive spaces such as the Marketplace of Projects, the Telecentres of the World gallery, the Apps Lab exhibition space and The Hub which will be the main area of interaction. Take a peek at the program.