IGF 2019 WS #252 Equipping the workforce for the digital transformation

Organizer 1: Laurentiu Bunescu, ALL DIGITAL
Organizer 2: Fareean Mwende, NairoBits Trust
Organizer 3: Magdalene Wanjugu, NairoBits Trust
Organizer 4: Nenja Wolbers, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
Organizer 5: Mara Jakobsone, LIKTA
Organizer 6: Fiona Fanning, Certiport, a Pearson VUE Business
Organizer 7: Pia Groenewolt, ALL DIGITAL
Organizer 8: Gabriela Ruseva, ALL DIGITAL

Speaker 1: Fiona Fanning, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Alexandra Ingvarsson, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Mara Jakobsone, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 4: Fareean Mwende, Civil Society, Eastern European Group
Speaker 5: Magdalene Wanjugu, Civil Society, African Group

Policy Question(s): 

The public policy questions related to Internet Governance that we will explore are:
What is the role of different stakeholders (public authorities, education providers, NGOs, private sector) in equipping the workforce for the digital transformation?
How can we empower people to leverage technology and the Internet for employability?
How the measures and programmes adopted to this end can reach those who are most in need of such interventions?
How policy-makers (national and international) and companies can support digital inclusion actors with appropriate policies?

Relevance to Theme: This workshop aims to contribute to the broader discussion on policies for improving access to equitable opportunities for all in a digital age and will focus on ICT skills for employability.
Both co-organisers have digital inclusion as a core mission. The ALL DIGITAL network has been working for more than 10 years in Europe to promote the right access, skills, motivation and trust for everyone to confidently go online. Its annual flagship awareness-raising campaign ALL DIGITAL week, previously called Get Online Week, is aimed exactly at this – demystifying technology and getting more and more people to use the Internet confidently and critically. It tackles all four aspects mentioned above (1) access 2) skills 3) motivation and 4) trust.
NairoBits Trust is a not for profit organisation based in Nairobi, Kenya. For the last 20 years NairoBits exists to promote creative use of ICT that positively transforms and empowers disadvantaged youth for enhanced quality of life. NairoBits advocates for proper use of Internet and technology to provide innovative solutions for marginalised and underserved communities and employment for the youth, especially the minorities such as those living with disabilities. The Nairobits model has been successfully exported in other countries in the region.
Our collective experience has shown that when it comes to motivation, the prospect of (better) employment is key. People are more likely to embrace skills training when they know that the newly acquired skills will lead them to (better) jobs, and respectively, better future. This is why in this workshop we chose to focus on the 5th illustrative question under the Digital Inclusion theme, namely “How do we best equip the workforce of the 21st century with the necessary skills to take advantage of the new employment opportunities that will result from digital transformation? How do we ensure that these skills and employment opportunities are equitable to all and that the global south is equipment to participate on an equal footing?”.
The workshop proposers are working on equipping the workforce with the necessary skills for accessing (new) job opportunities in Europe and Africa. In both regions they implement a number of projects and initiatives focusing on different target groups, because their offers are tailor-made and flexible. Thus, based on their experience, the organisers have identified three inter-related sub-topics which will be the basis of the breakout group discussions. Each topic will be introduced by experts and illustrated by examples from the two focus regions, before participants engage in the group discussions.
- supporting girls and women with digital and entrepreneurship skills (SmartWomenProject.eu and https://nairobits.com/program/sistech/). Under this sub-topic, we will discuss the gender gap in ICT from the perspective “empowerment” of girls and women and boosting their participation. Labour market participation rates of women are lower in Europe and across the world. The digital transformation offers plenty of opportunities to use digital tools to provide flexible working opportunities for women and men. According to Eurostat, the ICT field is predominately male, with females representing only 17.2% of all ICT specialists employed in the EU. According to a survey conducted by Joburg Center for Software Engineering, only 21% of ICT jobs in Africa are held by women. The Research ICT Africa survey results show that Internet usage is not common in Africa (https://researchictafrica.net/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/After-Access...). Disparities within the region are significant with 49,7% total internet users in South Africa against 8,2% in Rwanda. In Kenya 25,6% of the population access the Internet, with 50% more men using it than women.
Against this background, Smart Women and Entrepreneuship4Women are two examples from the ALL DIGITAL network that aim to integrate women into the labour market. Women gain entrepreneurial and digital skills they need for the job market. The concept behind these projects is to raise the digital skills of entrepreneurial women to take their business online. The course is delivered to women who already have a business or a business idea and a basic level of digital skills. The women who took part in the pilots represented a diverse group: elderly women in rural communities who gained digital skills to sell their agricultural products and handicrafts online, migrants and refugees, women managing a family business, e.g. a guest house. Women who were left out of the workforce after starting a family also took part in the course, noting the it gave them tools to re-start their careers.
Nairobits’ SisTech program was established in 2015, when Nairobits in partnership with the Malala Fund opened three girl centers targeting marginalized girls aged 17 to 19 from informal settlements. Nairobits works with Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to reach the most vulnerable girls and actively involves business companies to provide information on skills demands and job market, train and thereafter offer job placements for the girls who successfully complete the training. This model provides relevant hands-on skills for the girls; therefore, channeling qualified and skilled girls to meet the needs of the labor market. Since its inception in 2015, 399 girls have received training with 50% girls employed in ICT companies, 20% ventured into entrepreneurship, 10% are currently pursuing higher education with a significant number involved in community projects.
- re-skilling unemployed people with digital skills for digital jobs by working in partnership with companies (Digital SkillShift). Here we will focus on how to work together with companies and why they should be interested in working with non-formal training providers to prepare their future workforce. One of the highest risks for society in the future is not that jobs that will disappear because of the digital transformation, but the shortage of reskilling and upskilling training offers that can qualify employees to access other or even newly created jobs. 74% of people who lack sufficient digital skills expect that their job will change/become automated due to the use of robots and AI, and 44% who are currently working think their current job could at least partly be done by a robot or AI (EC Eurobarometer survey, May 2017). At the same time, there are not enough training offers to equip people with digital skills and many are at risk of being left behind from the digital translation. Companies should be equally concerned with this trend because they will be in need of people with the right skills for their jobs. To counter this challenge, training offers need to be developed that include the skills and competencies that companies need and that builds on the existing skills level of the trainees. The new skills will include critically using the Internet as a resource to solve problems, to communicate, and to organise.
The ultimate aim of the Digital SkillShift project is to enable new work-related opportunities for the beneficiaries of the training, by developing new skills and attitudes required for today’s labour market. The project also wishes to mobilise employers to support a new way of thinking about employment and recruitment. It promotes the idea of employers’ ongoing engagement in the process of preparing their (future) employees through tailor-made training programmes, rather than simply going to the market when they need to fill in a position.
The Nairobits 3-stage ICT training (https://nairobits.com/program/information-communication-technology/) is also aimed at equipping low-skilled young people and getting them ready to get decent jobs. In doing this, Nairobits works closely with business partners who absorb the trained youth for internships in Nairobi and across the country. This network of Partners has placed NairoBits in a wider social network as the alumni are to be found in the ICT sector all over the country and beyond.
- up-skilling low digitally skilled people (people with no or basic digital skills) to get them started and give them a chance in today’s labour market. The focus here is on basic digital skills needed, the DigComp and the possibility to adopt it at global level, the fact that when we are talking about digital skills for the workforce, it is not only about ICT professionals, but everyone. This topic is illustrated by the Digital Competence Development System, that ALL DIGITAL is developing in Europe, as well as by the first course of Nairobits’ ICT training, known as Getting Connected. It introduces basic computer knowledge aiming to have the students feel comfortable using the computer and familiarize themselves with the possibilities it offers. This first course also aims to get the students in the right frame of mind for the rest of the training.
Thus, by focusing on digital skills for the workforce, we also address issues raised in the other illustrative questions such as addressing disadvantaged groups, gender equality in ICT (in Internet access, but also skills), how to share responsibility with companies and public authorities in skills development, and digital literacy as a forth pillar of education.

Relevance to Internet Governance: The pursuit of sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs cannot be complete without considering the effects of digitalisation. Digital inclusion is conducive to sustainable development by supporting no less than 4 sustainable development goals: Quality education, Gender equality, Decent work and economic growth and Reducing inequalities. For this to be possible, populations must be equipped with the necessary skills to meaningfully use and benefit from the full potential of ICT. Digital inclusion is a political and sociodemographic issue related to internet governance.
The Internet has an immense potential to facilitate people’s lives in many ways: finding crucial and sometimes even life-saving information, accessing a wide array of public services, staying connected with friends and family, studying and finding employment. Today is it almost impossible to find (or keep) a job if one does not have the necessary skills to use the Internet and digital technology.
Further to this, according to European statistics, in the coming years 90% of jobs will require digital skills and competences at a higher than basic level (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/grand-coalition-digital-jobs). While some are sceptical about the extent to which the nature of work will change due to the digital transformation, hardly anyone doubts that people will need to be able to access and use the Internet in almost all workplaces. Not only in, but also outside of the office. Farmers, electricians, car mechanics, police detectives, teachers and doctors, among others (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-single-market/en/news/report-shows-digital-...), use digital tools and Internet in their everyday tasks. Most job offers are advertised and applied for online. Therefore, education and empowering learners and workers with digital skills is one means to ensure digital skills gaps do not create further inequalities, people can be employed in decent work, and attain quality education to fully tap the potential of the Internet.
Basic digital skills in the EU are tightly related to Internet use. In fact, the number of people without basic digital skills is estimated to a large extent based on their ability to perform various operations using the Internet (e.g. finding information online, sending/receiving e-mails, making online purchases, using online services, etc. – see https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/cache/metadata/en/tepsr_sp410_esmsip2.htm). In 2018, even in Europe 15% of the population aged 16-74 did not use Internet in the last 3 months, while in 2017 as many as 43% of Europeans lacked basic digital skills. All these people are at risk of losing their jobs or being unable to find one. In Africa 43% fewer women than men have access to Internet. In Kenya, only 21.3% of women are salaried. The lack of digital skills locks them out of the labour force and hinders them from accessing decent and gainful employment.

Format: 

Break-out Group Discussions - Flexible Seating - 90 Min

Description: The title of the workshop session is Equipping the workforce for the digital transformation – mission possible for all.
Digital technologies and the Internet can boost employability (and, hence, quality of life) only if people have the necessary skills to take advantage and use them for their benefit. This workshop will help shed light on how different stakeholders can contribute to ensure that everyone is equipped with the necessary ICT skills to access decent employment opportunities in the 21st century and, more broadly, benefit from the digital transformation.
The topic will be introduced by sharing the European (ALL DIGITAL) and African (Nairobits) experience in providing digital skills training for employability. The two organisations will present key aspects of their work on the topic. They will emphasise on the importance of working in a network and will present their model of collaboration across countries. Two stakeholders from the business/employers’ sector have been invited to share their perspective: Certiport and JPMC.
Speakers will address two main questions 1) what is your role (as civil society or company) in equipping the workforce with the necessary skills for 21st century jobs? and 2) how do you (wish) to work with other actors? They will illustrate their answers by showcasing concrete programmes, projects and initiatives. Given that we have a diverse range of perspectives among the speakers (training providers and networks from developing and developed countries, companies and employers), they will all feed their unique perspective into the discussion groups which will follow.
Then participants will break into groups and focus on one of three pre-defined sub-topics. In each breakout group, the topic will be introduced by expert speakers and illustrated a project (possibly 1 from Europe and 1 from Africa). The three topics, explained in further details above, are:
- supporting women with digital and entrepreneurs skills (SmartWomenProject.eu and SisTech Project)
- re-skilling unemployed people with digital skills for digital jobs by working in partnership with companies (Digital Skills Shift and ICT training)
- up-skilling low digitally skilled people (people with no or very low digital skills) to get them started and give them a chance in today’s labour market (Digital Competence Development System).
The provisional schedule of the workshop is as follows:
1. Opening and welcome of participants, quick introduction of the agenda and interactive screening “who is in the room?”. This will be done by use a live online particularity tool, e.g. mentimeter (https://www.mentimeter.com), to choose the sector they are representing (civil society, international organisation, public authority, education and training provider, company, social enterprise, etc.). Results will be shown on the screen (5-10 mins).
2. Equipping the workforce with digital skills necessary for 21st century jobs – overview of the European and African experience (ALL DIGITAL and Nairobits) (20 mins)
3. Comments and reactions from the business/employers’ perspective (JPMC and Certiport) (10 mins)
4. Breaking out into discussion groups based on the three predefined topics above. Each group will be led by speakers, who will also act as moderator. Speakers will present the topic in more details and illustrate it by programme/project examples from Europe and Africa. They will help steer the discussion and involve all participants. The break-out groups format will enable IGF participants to incorporate their experiences, discuss and further enrich the discussion:
a. Supporting women entrepreneurs with digital skills – speakers Mara Jakobsone, Vice-president at Latvian information and communication technology association and Fareen Kigundu, Programs Lead at Nairobits.
b. Re-skilling unemployed people/working in partnership with companies – speakers Ian Clifford, project manager at ALL DIGITAL and Alexandra Ingvarsson, Global Philanthropy at J.P. Morgan
c. Up-skilling low digitally skilled people (people with no or very low digital skills) to get them started and give them a chance in today’s labour market – speakers Laurentiu Bunescu, CEO of ALL DIGITAL and Magdalene Wanjugu, Executive Director of Nairobits.
All groups will have 35’ to discuss the topics with a view to answer the questions: 1) What is the role of different stakeholders (public authorities, education providers, NGOs, companies) in equipping the workforce for the digital transformation? 2) How the measures and programmes adopted to this end can reach those who are most in need of such interventions? and 3) How national and international policy-makers and companies can support digital inclusion actors with appropriate policies? Speakers will act as moderators to facilitate the conversations and record the outcomes of the discussions. Discussions on each table will be open and all participants will be encouraged to contribute.
5. During the last 15’ of the session each discussion group will summarise the outcomes of their discussion (5’ mins each) to all participants.
To enable an inclusive and fluid discussion, the room should be set up with chairs for the opening speakers in the front row and round tables or groups of chairs to facilitate the group work and enable participants to exchange views. We will explore the use of visuals to animate the session and aid non-native English speakers. We will provide flipcharts and pens for the group work to facilitate reporting. The moderators are well informed and experienced in animating multi-stakeholder discussions. Questions and input for speakers will be prepared in advance to help stimulate interactive, dynamic dialogue. Care will be taken to ensure the discussion groups have a balanced stakeholder representation thanks to the simple polling at the beginning of the session.
Who is this workshop for?
- public policy-makers working on digital inclusion
- companies from all sectors looking for digitally skilled workforce
- schools
- non-formal training providers (NGOs, community-based centres, libraries, social enterprises, etc.)
- anyone looking for a model for establishing a successful platform for collaboration between grass-root organisations on digital inclusion and empowerment.

Expected Outcomes: IGF participants who attend this workshop will get a unique insight into the work of digital empowerment practitioners from Europe and Africa.
We expect to find answers to the questions:
What is the role of different stakeholders (public authorities, education providers, NGOs, companies) in equipping the workforce for the digital transformation?
How the measures and programmes adopted to this end can reach those who are most in need of such interventions?
How national and international policy-makers and companies can support digital inclusion actors with appropriate policies?
To do this, we expect to share:
- examples of policy measures to support the workforce with the necessary skills and to support organisations catering to the skills needs of different target groups
- examples of good practices (programmes, methodologies, initiatives)
- awareness raising among the community about the need for digital inclusion and digital skills
- examples of cooperation between different actors (public authorities, education providers, NGOs, companies).
After the workshop, ALL DIGITAL and Nairobits will work together to put all the inputs collected down into recommendations for policy-makers. We will collect the contact details of session participants (if they wish so and after obtaining their explicit consent) and share the recommendations with them for comments, before making them public and forwarding them to relevant stakeholders.
Finally, we would like to propose a model of a platform which facilitates cooperation between grass-root organisations (NGOs, training centres, community centres) providing access to Internet and digital technologies and trainings in the necessary digital skills. We have seen the benefits that participating in such a network brings for ALL DIGITAL members (today 60+ organisations) and we would like to help establish/strengthen similar networks in other regions, as well as start inter-regional cooperation.
Therefore, we expect the session to stir discussion, inform on ongoing initiatives and inspire participants with ideas on how to empower everyone with the necessary skills to benefit from the digital transformation.

Onsite Moderator: 

Gabriela Ruseva, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Online Moderator: 

Pia Groenewolt, Intergovernmental Organization, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Rapporteur: 

Gabriela Ruseva, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Discussion Facilitation: 

The session is based on the break-out groups discussion format, therefore, it is by default designed as interactive. To enable an inclusive and fluid discussion, the room should be set up with chairs for the opening speakers in the front row and round tables or groups of chairs which can be arranged in a circle, to facilitate the group work and enable participants to exchange views. We will use visuals to animate the session and aid non-native English speakers. We will provide flipcharts and pens for the group work to facilitate reporting. Care will be taken to ensure the discussion groups have a balanced stakeholder representation thanks to the simple polling at the beginning of the session. But most important of all, the moderators are well informed and very experienced in animating multi-stakeholder discussions (ALL DIGITAL does this every year at our annual Summit). They will make sure that everyone has a say and feels at ease to share their opinion.

Online Participation: 

During the session, online participants will have the same rules as on-site one. To promote online participation three online moderators from ALL DIGITAL team will be assigned. They will provide constant support and feedback to the remote participants that want to address one of the three topics of discussion. ALL DIGITAL’s communication team has abundant experience managing online discussions on our unite-it.eu online professional community and will have no trouble facilitating remote participation. The format of online participation will depend on the technical solution that the IGF organisers will deploy, but generally, online participants will be encouraged to participate in writing instead of calling in/audio and video participation, because the latter might be too complex to handle in the context of the breakout groups. However, if an online participant expresses his wish for an audio/video intervention in the discussion, the online moderators will notify the breakout groups’ speakers/moderators and try to accommodate the intervention into the group discussion (if technically possible). In addition to the aforementioned fora, we will also promote a dedicated hashtag (#Skills4DigitalTranfsormation) so that the speakers, audience members, and online participants can discuss the issues raised in real time on a more widely accessible medium (Twitter and Facebook).

Proposed Additional Tools: We will use ALL DIGITAL and Nairobits well-established social media channels – Facebook @AllDigitalEU and @NairobitsTrust, Twitter @All DigitalEU and @Nairobits – as well as the dedicated hashtag, to stir online discussion with our followers and the wider public. If facilities allow (screen, projector) we will have a Twitter wall and the speakers/moderators of the discussion groups will also be asked to address at least 3 tweets per topic.

SDGs: 

GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequalities