Nóra Györke, EASPD, Belgium: Presented the B-WISE project and highlighted the main aim of the project to develop an EU Strategy addressing the skills needs and gaps in the WISEs sector.
Danijel Baturina, Faculty of Law in Zagreb University presented the current situation in skill gaps in the WISEs sector in Croatia, which were identified by the research activity through the first year of the B-WISE project.
He specifically highlighted the challenges of WISEs due to the low recognition; the need for increasing the space for social innovation; the development of new policy frameworks for social entrepreneurship; taking advantage of the new financial opportunities (ESF+ and beyond); the need for national strategies and funding mechanisms for the transformation of skills; and the important contribution of the B-WISE project in this.
Additionally, WISEs in Croatia at the moment are facing a lot of challenges and the development of digital skills may not be a priority. But at the same time, digitalisation is a big focus now and in the future. He emphasized the need of the development of educational programs that can further support WISEs.
Melanie Schaur, JKU, Austria presented the B-WISE research process during the first year of the project putting an emphasis on the results identified in Austria. The main digital skills gaps and needs identified were the lack of knwoledge and skills in using digital devices and tools, the unavailability of the right infrustructure, the lack of resources and programs to tackle digital skills in different target groups, and the lack of a common strategy regarding digitalisation.
Lastly, she presented a good practice in the development of digital skills in Austria, the ABZ Digi café which provided training on digital skills to women long-term unemployed and persons with disabilities. This practice has been selected as a good practice on developing digital skills by the consortium of the B-WISE project.
Sophia Karagouni, Margarita, Greece presented the ENTELIS+ Digital Accessibility project, which was selected by the B-WISE consortium as a good practice in developing digital skills. She first started by explaining what accessibility is and giving examples of digital accessibility. She emphasized that usually the focus is on making things prettier and not more accessible; the lack of information on how to make something accessible to all; and the concern that digital inaccessibility excludes people more from the community.
In order to make things more accessible we need first of all to investigate and identify the needs of the people and this is what they accomplished with the ENTELIS+ project. The aim of the project was to reduce the digital divide and they developed different activities to raise awareness on this. They also developed programs to support people in improving their digital skills and the skills of their supporters. And she showcased how from an activity e-mail to friends they were able to support people with intellectual disabilities to advance their digital skills, as it is not just about learning but also on how we can learn.
Lastly, she emphasized that we need to have guidance on accessibility from the people with disabilities themselves and we can accomplish that by using a coproduction approach.