Covid-19 and the Digital Skillshift Project

Even before the Covid-19 crisis, online working was becoming vital. Now it is essential, and ALL DIGITAL, with its partners Stiftung Digitale Chancen, and Fondazione Patrizio Paoletti have been developing a curriculum – the Digital Skillshift curriculum – that goes to the heart of the problem. It aims to support people at risk of unemployment with a bespoke course that helps them to discover the skills and attitudes needed to become a ‘Digital Assistant’, a job role increasingly in demand.

However, the delivery Digital Skillshift project has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 crisis during 2020. Piloting was due to take place during the spring in France, Italy and Germany, but just as training had started in Italy, all activity had to stop as the virus took hold across Europe. After much re-planning the course was re-developed to allow fully online delivery. During the early summer it was relaunched as an online course and has now been delivered through a mix of online and, where possible, classroom delivery. The course has now been completed more than 140 times across the three countries.

During the ALL DIGITAL summit in October an interactive workshop gave an overview of the project. During the workshop project team members compared research from before and since the pandemic and explored the jobs that were at risk from automation and now the Covid-19 crisis. Videos of learners and tutors gave participants an insight into the project and the curriculum.

The recurrence of government restrictions as a result of second wave of Covid-19, has led to a new of issues. Partners are switching back to fully online delivery. The partners are generally finding issues with learner recruitment and communications, while specifically in France Simplon are finding lots of candidates coming from catering sector. All countries are planning to run more training courses in coming months. The project, funded by J.P. Morgan, has now been extended into 2021.