“YOUNG-ICT WOMEN: Innovative Solutions to increase the numbers of EU vulnerable girls and young women into the digital agenda” – WOMEN4IT (Project Nr. 2017-1-094)
Period of implementation:
2019 – 2022
Field of activity – formal/informal/non-formal:
The digital competence development of young women – non-formal
EEA Grants and the Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment
84 268, 00 EUR excl. VAT (the combinged budget of the implementing organization BDA foreseen for training delivery)
Young, unemployed women aged between 18 and 29
Implementing organization/lead organization:
»Baltijas Datoru Akadēmija« (BDA); LLC; Reg. Nr. 50003138501 (training service provider); (the contracting organization is the Latvian Information and Communication Technology Association (LIKTA))
- To create attractive employment opportunities for young people in the digital economy;
- To provide access to an online employability profiling tool for individual testing;
- To ensure free of charge and easily available digital training opportunities in order to help individuals access a community of leading European digital workforce;
- To promote IT jobs for women as a source of economic growth and as role models.
Challenge or social need:
Women4IT aims to raise awareness about digital skills and the corresponding gender gap, and to promote concrete, innovative partnerships and solutions to increase the number of EU vulnerable girls and young women within the framework of the digital agenda.
Before the start of the courses, women assessed their existing digital skills and suitability for different professions with the help of specially designed tests in order to better select the field of study and the digital profile to master. The tests, which can be found on the digital platform https://digitaljobs.women4it.eu/lv, have been created by LIKTA in cooperation with partners from eight other European countries within the framework of the international partnership “Women4IT”. In addition to self-testing tests, infographics and descriptions of each digital profile are available on the platform, so that any interested person has the opportunity to get acquainted with the job responsibilities that need to be performed in each digital profile, what skills and qualities should be possessed.
After selecting the participants, the young women embarked on a three-month training program in their chosen profile (the profiles were quite different, for instance, connected with the sphere of information system testing, digital media management and many others). The training programmes were developed in cooperation with industry experts, employers and other international partners of the project.
At the time of the training, participants had the opportunity to receive support to find a job after completing their training. Throughout the training period, the participants worked individually together with a mentor who helped to better prepare for employment. Participants also attended mentoring workshops where industry professionals shared their experiences and provided advice on how to better start a career in digital work. In total, nine mentoring seminars were organised, which covered topics related to personal growth and career development, such as awareness of one’s goals, digital identity, lifelong learning opportunities, job search strategies, tips.
Participants also had the opportunity to participate in Career Info Days, which were organized in cooperation with industry companies and gave the opportunity to get to know the chosen professions.
Benefits/success factors/ measurement of success:
The biggest success factor is that within 3 months the participants were able to learn a new profession not only theoretically, but also by performing practical tasks and gaining valuable and useful knowledge in order to be able to change their profession.
The success is measured:
- By the number of participants taking part in the courses.
- By the number of participants who finished the studies.
- By the number of participants who found a job in a particular industry after the courses.
As the training was very intensive, with many practical and individual assignments, it was sometimes difficult for the participants to meet all the requirements of the project in order to successfully complete the ongoing training programme.
The project directly benefits a lot of young women initially by providing them with non -formal educational opportunities, and ultimately all young people can benefit from the innovative education solutions. The project solution will upskill them, with a ‘learning to learn’ attitude, a sense of initiative, and with the social skills necessary to find a job. The employment that is anticipated for the young women also benefits other groups of young people, and other labour market stakeholders like employers, training providers, recruiters, communities and NGOs.
The approach of this project can easily be transfered to other similar training projects and activities, thus including more young women in the digital economy and achieving gender equality in the digital industry.
Inclusive characteristics/Innovative elements:
The project has not only enabled young women to acquire new digital and technological knowledge and skills, but has also helped them to go beyond their daily lives and the environment of their fellow human beings, broadened their horizons, contacts and opportunities that would otherwise not be possible.
Attractive employment opportunities for young people in the Digital Economy, new innovative tech jobs for women, development of new partnerships with employers for testing new innovative solutions, a new online employability profiling tool and free of charge training.