Project launched to help adults become digitally competent workers

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Project launched to help adults become digitally competent workersA new project titled ‘Networked: ICT competences for better employability and workforce adaptability’ was launched today by the Dr. Edward Zammit Lewis, Parliamentary Secretary for Competitiveness and Economic Growth and Dr. Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU Funds during a seminar addressing the impact of the digital divide on society and the economy.

The seminar was attended by representatives from the public sector and civil society who work to advance digital competencies amongst working age adults.

The project, budgeted at €450,000, is part-financed by the European Union through the European Social Funds (ESF) and will be led by the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), in partnership with the Employment and Training Corporation (ETC).

The first phase of the project will involve the roll-out of a nationwide awareness campaign aimed at helping adults understand ICT and inspiring them to go online by explaining the benefits this can offer. The second phase will comprise subsidised training for over 3500 individuals.

Two training programmes will be offered. The first programme will introduce participants to the basics of ICT in daily life contexts whilst the second will focus on the use of ICT in work related scenarios.

In his opening address, Dr. Zammit Lewis welcomed the initiative stating that “if Malta wants to build a true digital economy, it needs to ensure that every worker is ICT competent to be able to contribute even more to the economy”. “A Digital Economy cannot rely on the few elite players operating in specialist industries, but rather, Malta needs all its enterprises on board irrespective of size, sector and position in the value chain.”

The project will target working age adults who are not familiar with the digital world. Latest statistics show that a staggering 45% of Maltese aged between 45 and 64 have never used the Internet. These individuals are excluded from taking up jobs that entail the use of computers and related technologies.

They have restricted job mobility opportunities whilst their employers encounter difficulty in introducing ICT mediated processes within the workplace. Such a wide digital age divide is a barrier for Malta in its effort to establish a digitally driven economy.

Dr. Ian Borg stated that “Malta needs to ensure that its main resource, its human capital, is ready for tomorrow’s digital jobs.” He added that “the upcoming Structural Funds Programme will be a core instrument to help Malta achieve this objective.” The programme will complement Malta’s efforts in reaching the targets set by the European Commission to achieve a digital economy.

A number of NGOs, local councils and public agencies will have the opportunity to participate in the project. This will ensure that the training is given close to the community. Telecentre Europe (Brussels), a European wide network of ICT community centres, and the Dedalo Foundation (Spain), a Navarra based nonprofit organization that promotes ICT use within the community, are supporting the project.

Further information on this project can be obtained by contacting Ms Irene Dillon on 21 336840

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