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Digital SkillUp Webinar Series: Successful digital upskilling – how to reach and engage your community 

Platforms, initiatives, and general tools to promote citizens´ upskilling have flowered in the past year, as an enormous digital skill gap came to light due to the pandemic.  

Actively engaging with the local community, creating awareness on the skills mismatch, and raising interest in the upskilling trainings are the current challenges for local community builders. This is why we wanted to share successful experiences in engaging and onboarding people to the journey to digital upskilling.  

Some background context of the Digital Skill Up was given by Arthur Treguier, Policy Assistant at DG CONNECT, European Commission, who highlighted how the initiative will contribute to the achievement of the Digital Decade target, especially:  

  1. 80% adult population to have basic digital skills by 2030  

  2. 20 million ICT specialists in Europe who can develop new technologies and strengthen European digital sovereignty.  

Viola Pinzi, European Schoolnet Project Manager and Coordinator of the Digital SkillUp project, complemented the opening remarks with a call to become Associated Members for all organisations and individuals who would like to have an active role in the build-up of a strong community around the Digital Skill Up initiative, by promoting the courses and contributing to the content, to name a few activities. Associated Members will then have extra benefits, such as:  

  • Greater visibility within the Digital SkillUp initiative, 

  • Co-organisation of events and other activities  

  • Publication of articles about their practices and tips for the community 

  • Digital SkillUp communication kit 

The floor then opened for the panel guests to share their inspiring stories on how they are promoting digital upskilling practices in their local community.  

The first intervention saw Violetta Shishkina, CEO of CADChain to present her newly established initiative, the Fe/Male SWITCH, a role play simulator for future female entrepreneurs. As she was struggling to find female employees for her start-up, she decided to create this interactive game to promote women leadership in tech. The idea is based on research showing that start-up experiences increase self-confidence in women and men. Through the simulation game of Fe/Male SWITCH you can, in fact, experience the virtual start-up as founder, mentor or investor and face the challenges that can end up on your desk daily, as well as gain digital skills in the skills lab.   

From the Netherlands we moved to Poland, where Piotr Mieczkowski, Managing Director at Digital Poland showed some activities that his organisation is carrying out to contribute to digitalisation and upskilling in Poland.  

Started in 2019, they are now at their 3rd edition of their flagship initiative: the Digital Festival, counting more and more guests and activities in every edition, organised under the umbrella of the EU Digital Days.  

Their engagement strategy is based on inclusion and tailored marketing campaigns: from the most traditional one (radio, tv, newspaper) to catch the elderly's attention, to social media interaction and cooperation with influencers and famous ambassadors for the youngsters.  

As for the content of the activities, Digital Poland opted for promoting other people's trainings rather than creating it, offering digital discounts as a reward to those who complete the courses.  

You can learn more about the Digital Festival and Digital Poland activities by reading Piotr's presentation: 

Digital SkillUp Webinar - Digital Poland PPT

The last testimonial came from a Brussels-based Dutch speaking library, MuntPunt. To comply with the public libraries mission of being an important source for informal learning, MuntPunt just opened their MediaLab (@de.grid.muntpunt), a coworking space, with professional workstations and tools (such as 3D printers, video makers softwares, Virtual Reality -VR-, etc.) for everyone to use and to organise workshops.  

Lise Vanderpiete, program manager and community builder at MuntPunt, talked about the vision of the MediaLab, which is per se a strategy to engage, and keep the community engaged. The Lab wants to be a space where the makers can feel at home and experiment with the different technologies. The aim is also to make technologies more accessible for kids: for instance, the kids can code their own virtual space and test VR experience not as a passive consumer, but rather as creators. 

Lise presented also their Apothek, a first aid platform for digital challenges of all sorts, where people can address their issues, from privacy setting to accounts registration, and to more complex coding mistakes.  

If you'd like to grab other interesting tips on how to engage with your local community and get inspiration, check the webinar recording here

Experts from all over Europe and beyond are already having their say in the Community space of the Digital Skills and Jobs Platform. Join them and share your views!