A special project, co-funded by the EU funds on the Danube transnational programme, gathers together partners from 8 countries on digital competencies for people over 50 years. “Building of digital entrepreneurial capacities of the elderly through the innovative training system”, or eDigiStars project aims to develop sustainable ecosystems which successfully turn older workers to digital self-employed entrepreneurs, helping both people to get desired skills as well as companies to remain competitive.
The project encompases 19 partners in 8 Danube countries - Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Ukraine. An important part of the project is the development of three tools, which will play a crucial role in the process.
eDigiStars is based on real professional cooperation: vocational training and adult training organisations, labour offices, NGOs, local governments, chambers of commerce, industry and economic development organisations and disadvantaged target groups are working together to ensure success.
The three tools are - POWERYOU will empower the workforce over the age of 50 for digital self-employment, CAMPUS will adjust relevant courses for them to their specific needs, and LABEL will certify those, who demonstrate enough digital skills.
During special meetings and workshops, which took place on virtual meetings, due to corona crises, project partners discussed the creation of the tools, using different methods for interactive group work. The participants have separated in groups in breakout rooms on the internet-based platform MIRO.
LABEL shows how to build trust and prove the competence of older people to employers.
The description of the instrument includes the stages of its creation, sustainability over time, quality criteria, as well as its financial sustainability, promotion and advertising. For this purpose, it is necessary to study the possibilities for financing the respective territory, to make a connection with the interested parties and the purposeful promotion of eDigiStars.
Close cooperation with business and information about its requirements, as well as regular dialogue between partners and stakeholders - companies, firms, politicians, training providers, employment offices and others - are essential for high-quality training and certification.
The process and implementation of accreditation for an independent and recognized certificate are not feasible within the project. Therefore, we must work closely with a high-quality educational partner who is recognized in the market of each territory.
The LABEL tool is aimed at participants who work intensively with the industry or represent them, e.g. chambers of commerce, associations and other business support institutions. With the help of this tool, two goals will be achieved: firstly, widely recognized certificates will be issued to eDigiStars participants. Secondly, trust will be established in the already retrained target group 50+ (120 people in total) as valuable participants in the digitalized work environment.
The pilot programs of all three eDigiStars tools will disseminate information about them, will demonstrate on the spot among the various employment offices and other participants in the process how they work, will study how to inform and motivate the unemployed over 50 to participate in digital entrepreneurship training.
They also aim to inform that eDigiStars-certified people over the age of 50 with the LABEL tool are attractive for employment in the industry.
The development of the tool also contains practical advice - to analyze job postings in the digital field, to understand the current market situation and the specific needs of companies in your area, to make a direct link between companies and training organizations to overcome the differences in skills between companies and trainees, look for large, innovative companies where there is a critical assessment of demand-oriented training.
Working with small and medium-sized businesses also offers various advantages: based on their specific business needs, many of them are not satisfied with the available training on the market and seek specialized training. In this case, the eDigiStars system can be especially useful for them.
The project team is convinced: To support people over 50 to remain active and to ensure that the society of the Danube macro-region benefits from their strengths and talents.