Empowering the European Workforce Development through Online/Virtual Skills Training for Digital Transformation towards Mitigating the Impact of Pandemic Situations
Duration: 01/06/2021 to 31/05/2023
According to the survey of World Economic Forum, the Digital Transformation, especially in Industry (Industry IoT / IIoT), is one of the top technological drivers of change for the future of jobs, employment, skills, and workforce strategy in the 4th Industrial Revolution. On one hand, the preparation of the European workforce for such an enormous diversity of skills in the field of digital transformation requires the support of the Higher Education Institutions (HEI) towards integrating IIoT skills. On the other hand, the pandemic situations negatively affect the quality of the support of HEIs in this respect and force the HEIs to limit their face-to-face activities and a sudden shift to online and distance learning as a result. For example, based on the survey on the impact of the COVID-19 on European Universities (May 2020,), 88 HEIs out of 92 HEIs have provided distance learning opportunities to 60% or more of their students, and 58 HEIs stated to have implemented online courses [https://ec.europa.eu/]. As a result, the HEIs plan the quicker move with more funds to digital transformation. Also, the pandemic situation affects mobility matters. The survey also described that the COVID-19 crisis has negatively affected 86 out of 92 HEIs in student mobility and 81 out of 92 HEIs in staff mobility. Therefore, the activities including blended mobility formats (i.e. short physical mobility that is blended with virtual mobility) and the development of online courses and virtual support are of the utmost importance in response to the pandemics. Furthermore, for this development to be considered successful, the design of all the activities need to make sure that they are not leaving anyone behind, and that they are ensuring equal opportunities among people of all backgrounds. In particular, the design of these activities needs to aim at shrinking the gender gap in ICT-related disciplines, which is currently causing both vertical and horizontal job segregation (Verdin et al, 2018), and also to diminish inequalities due to disabilities. Only by taking these aspects into account, the HEIs can fulfill their commitment with the society to contribute to a preparation of the European workforce that is truly inclusive.
Role of University of Siegen: