Assessing and evaluating the cyber-readiness of EU MSMEs

Results and findings from the Cyber MSME Project

Cybercrime is the fastest-growing form of criminal activity and appears to be targeting a specific segment of our economies. According to the latest figures, the economic impact of cybercrime rose fivefold between 2013 and 2017, and microenterprises and SMEs (MSMEs) – the backbone of the EU economy – are disproportionally impacted by the phenomenon. 

Despite MSMEs being the most vulnerable group to the growing threat posed by cyberattacks, MSMEs are very seldom aware of the risks they face, let alone be prepared for them. In 2019, an industry report estimated that 66% of senior decision-makers in small businesses believe they are unlikely to be a target of online criminals (Keeper), whereas UNIPOL calculated that 14% of MSMEs are prepared to tackle cyber threats (2018).

The European Commission acknowledged the pressing need to equip micro and small businesses with competences and tools to tackle cyber threats to make them more resilient in case of cyber-attacks. Not only are “skills shortages” already “hindering SMEs”, but also these are expected to grow in the future, to the point that “Europe will face a projected skills gap of 350.000 cybersecurity professionals by 2022”.

Throughout 2021, Cyber MSME’ partners carried out a detailed and very comprehensive report which highlighted:• State of MSMEs’ cyber-threats preparedness and awareness• Identification of best practices as regards MSMEs support in the area of cybersecurity• Further recommendations in the domain of innovation and competitiveness for private sector

Key takeaways concern the overall lag of EU MSMEs in terms of awareness of and preparedness to deal with proliferating cyber-threats, among the most common and “pressing” challenge cited by literature. Other structural challenges that undermine greater preparedness of the MSMEs also include low cybersecurity awareness of the personnel, inadequate protection of critical and sensitive information, lack of budget, lack of dedicated IT and cybersecurity specialists, and lack of suitable cybersecurity guidelines specific to SMEs.

For more information, please consult the mapping section of the official Open Educational Resource Platform of the project. 

Users can access the platform and navigate project’s content completely for free. Soon, partners will upload the training content and educational material (i.e. Cyber MSME’s toolkit) developed on the premises of aforementioned findings.

Ppartners identified the preliminary structure of the toolkit properly fine-tuned to accommodate the results of mapping and common needs-assessment/skills-gap.

DIVERSITY Including Migrants through Organisational Development and Programme Planning in Adult Education

Assessing and validating the DIVERSITY modularised training

DIVERSITY – Including Migrants through Organisational Development and Programme Planning in Adult Education is a 30-months international project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.

It involves a Consortium of 7 Partners from 6 countries, i.e. Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Ireland; its objectives consist in:

  • Accompany the EU Adult Education system in the mentality shift from focusing on migrants as very specific target groups and preparing them for integration into the society.
  • Raising awareness for migration related diversity, its challenges, and its opportunities (referring to cultural and pedagogical but equally to economic aspects) with managers and planners in AE as well as policy makers.
  • Equipping managers and planners with the skills needed to open AE providers to migrants as a regular target group.

To do so, during proposal Partners foreseen 4 macro intellectual outputs conceived as follows:

  1. An in-depth mapping activity on Diversity-informed dynamics and operational practices within the organisational dimension of Adult Education Providers: a cross-national assessment that involved both primary and secondary resources (via interview and focus groups) and resulted in a very comprehensive executive report collecting relevant trends, overall dynamics and success studies on effective education and training practices for migrants in select European countries.
  • The development of a modularised training curriculum that enables managers and planners in adult education organisations to re-focus both their organisational structures and their course programmes to recognise and include migrants as a regular target group of their educational activities. The curriculum is structured around two major categories, organisational structure and programme planning, and each module is fully EQF-compliant aiming at learning outcomes on level three to four. The modules are to be “mixed and matched”; each module might be conceived as a stand-alone training unit but can also be combined with any other module, which maximises adjustment to the individual needs of managers/planners and their organisation. In terms of structure, each module consists of:
    • Short summary of the module.
    • Brief description of the knowledge to be acquired.
    • Brief description of the skills to be acquired.
    • Brief description of the personal abilities (responsibility and autonomy) to be acquired.
  • Testing and Validation of the modularised training curriculum with 100 target groups from the represented countries (including staff of the participating organisations, as well, since they are crucial for rooting the staff training in the partner organisation and therefore for a sustainable long-term continuation of the trainings). The project is currently in this exact phase of development – under the precious guidance of the Greek partner HAEA, the Consortium agreed on the outline of the underlying tasks in terms of general timeline and distribution of the work. Partners proposed and discussed what are for them the most suitable means of delivery and the overall methodology they will rely on to conclude such delicate activity.
  • Finally, the last months of the Project’s lifecycle will be dedicated to the development, review, publication and mainstreaming of the so defined “Policy Recommendations”; a collection of findings, insights and experiences from the DIVERSITY project aimed to:
    • inform evidence-based policy formulation.
    • provide policy recommendations.
    • identify actionable measures for stakeholders.

Standing from an evidence-based perspective, the paper represents a sort of operational memory of the project and will be used to expose where policy making, policy change or policy deregulation can support the transformation of adult education providers towards organisations open for migration diversity.

All deliverables are available here:

Progetto RESTART

Le statistiche ufficiali affermano che il 75% degli europei non intraprende alcuna educazione imprenditoriale attraverso i propri sistemi educativi. Nuove sfide, sorte a causa della crisi climatica e del contesto economico in continua evoluzione colpito dalla pandemia globale, hanno creato nuove opportunità, ma al tempo stesso hanno rivelato debolezze di iniziative consolidate.

Gli imprenditori e i loro dipendenti devono affrontare la necessità di adattarsi ed evolversi alle nuove sfide/opportunità emerse come passare all’online o promuovere innovazione e servitizzazione. La crisi climatica sottolinea la grande importanza del tema della sostenibilità e dell’azione locale. Lo sviluppo della prontezza, della resilienza e della capacità digitale è un prerequisito fondamentale per affrontare la trasformazione digitale.

L’obiettivo principale del progetto RESTART è sviluppare soluzioni e strumenti didattici innovativi per migliorare e far progredire la formazione all’imprenditorialità in tutto l’ecosistema dell’istruzione professionale affrontando le esigenze plasmate dalla digitalizzazione e dai cambiamenti climatici.

RESTART sviluppa contenuti di formazione innovativi per accendere lo spirito imprenditoriale e una base di conoscenza approfondita necessaria per operazioni sostenibili nell’attuale clima economico.

RESTART è adattato alle esigenze specifiche di gruppi target selezionati:

  1. Piccole e Medie Imprese, con focus sulle microimprese,
  2. Lavoratori e professionisti che hanno bisogno di adattarsi a lavori e funzioni in rapida evoluzione, attraverso l’acquisizione di abilità e competenze innovative e pertinenti
  3. L’ecosistema dell’istruzione e formazione professionale dell’Unione Europea alla continua ricerca di corsi pertinenti e aggiornati per accompagnare le PMI e la forza lavoro in questi mercati in rapida evoluzione;
  4. Il sistema di sostegno all’imprenditorialità che spesso è ancora ancorato a modelli economici “pre-pandemici” e necessita di un aggiornamento e potenziamento della sua offerta.

Il progetto intende raggiungere 4 risultati:

  1. La piattaforma didattica aperta RESTART disponibile in inglese
  2. Il modello di imprenditorialità innovativa RESTART
  3. Gli stumenti formativi del progetto RESTART
  4. Documento di sintesi RESTART e linee guida sul mainstreaming

Project Partners:

Il Progetto RESTART è iniziato il 1 novembre 2021 e si concluderà il 31 ottobre 2023.


Se hai domande, sei interessato a essere coinvolto, collaborare o hai commenti, non esitare a contattarci all’indirizzo Gmail:

Segui tutte le attività e le novità del progetto RESTART sulla pagina web: o sulla pagina Facebook del progetto.

Questo progetto è finanziato dal Programma Erasmus+ dell’Unione Europea. Il supporto della Commissione Europea per la preparazione e la pubblicazione di questo comunicato stampa non costituisce approvazione del contenuto che riflette solo il punto di vista degli autori, e la Commissione non può essere ritenuta responsabile per qualsiasi uso che potrebbe essere fatto delle informazioni in esso contenute.

Digital Entrepreneurship for Women: IDP joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of DEW

On November 10th 2021, IDP joined the online Kick-Off Meeting of the DEW project, co-funded by the Erasmus Plus Programme of the European Commission, which brings together seven organisations from five European countries (Ireland, Belgium, Italy, Spain and France). The KOM, originally planned in Brussels, Belgium, was held in online mode due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The context for DEW is based on a number of trends – according to official reports of the EU Commission, only 30% of start-up entrepreneurs are female, despite woman making up 52% of the population. In addition, gender stereotypesand male-dominated models and networks continue to prevail to the detriment of women. Finally, Covid-19 has seen a disproportionate impact on women with increased caring responsibilities and a concerning rise in the incidences of domestic violence. However, DEW aims to explore new entrepreneurial opportunities and unlock the potential of female digital entrepreneurs. The project will provide innovative, evidence-based and practical digital entrepreneurship knowledge and tools to empower self-employability and entrepreneurship for women, tackling various EU priorities:

  • the promotion of female entrepreneurship
  • the digitalisation of the European population
  • enhancing and boosting the entrepreneurial spirits across the EU

During the meeting, the consortium discussed the overall project implementation schedule, defining timelines and respective duties in the following months. The DEW official website will represent a repository of the project’s outputs, results, news and contacts. A mapping activity will follow in order to identify the main trends, issues, best practices and policy support systems in the countries represented in the Consortium.

In the Project, IDP brings its consolidated experience and expertise as a private provider of VET and adult education services. IDP will greatly contribute to the technical and operational activities of the Project, analyzing the status of female entrepreneurship in Italy, structuring modules and developing methodologies for effective teaching and learning materials.

For further information on DEW: Facebook LinkedIn Instagram

Soft Skills for employability and competitiveness in the labor market

A transnational and cross-sectorial assessment developed by the ESSENCE Project

ESSENCE’s objective is to Improve employability opportunities for HE students leveraging on soft skills development. The objective is to maximize their engagement in the labour market offering professional development paths through training and education on soft and “intangible” skills.

ESSENCE develops and deploys a flexible and permeable learning pathway: users can access and exploit the training “on-demand” and “on a need basis” to enhance their soft skills literacy and professional self-empowerment.

Back in 2016, analysts from the World Economic Forum foreseen a major switch in what would have been by 2020 the “top 10 skills” for employability, recruitment, career development and business competitiveness. According to the report, the opportunity for fresh graduates and HE students to compete on the job market would depend increasingly on soft and relational skills, rather than mere technical competences…

WEF’s findings are corroborated by numerous international and academic resources that pinpoint with great emphasis the relevance of soft skills for employability in the new incoming decade.

On the basis of that, in the following two years ESSENCE will sustain the development among HE students of intangible and soft skills (such as sense of initiative, critical thinking, creativity and people management) to better strengthen their employability competitiveness in the labour market; its innovative methodology relies on demand-drive and bottom up approaches that will lead partners in the creation of several strategic results:

  1. Online interactive platform (OER Platform) in Multilanguage version: available here
  2. Transnational report highlighting the “most wanted” soft skills for employability in the EU labour market (desk research + survey conducted among 100 employers)
  3. Online business glossary to be used as a concepts-map as well as a reference to orientate students across the universe of soft skills
  4. Custom-made training courses related to self-empowerment soft skills for employability
  5. Visibility Events in the participating countries and international awareness of the project

Moreover, Partners foresee that project results will be disseminated, mainstreamed and made visible to an overall audience of more than 4 Millions contacts – as an estimated sum from the engagement of the public via offline and offline communication.

IDP is lead partner of Quality Assurance, Monitoring and Evaluation. Moreover the Italian SMEs has consolidated and proven-track experience in developing, implementation and validating training curricula for the professional development, capacity building and upskilling of young people, fresh graduates and job-seekers. IDP collaborates in close contact with local employment agencies, national HEI and other professional in the domain of employability, business consultancy, coaching and training. The presence of IDP assures for technical and pedagogical reliability of the education framework developed by partners as the organisation brings in the perspective of the private sector’s representative and employer.

Online is available the transnational and cross-sectorial assessment of soft skills for employability – formal deliverable of the second intellectual output of the project “Mapping soft skills with employability – The most desirable soft skills among job applicants”.

The executive summary includes three sections:

Part no 1. Tools & Good Practices – Research has shown that, at the recruitment stage, the assessment of whether the candidate has appropriate soft skills (or not) is based on observing the person during the interview.

here is no evidence that companies carry out (or are exceptions) special competence tests that show what competences (and at what level) a given candidate is characterized by, although the examples presented later in the report show interesting solutions in this area, but in the context of employees. In the case of employees of a given organization, the most common form of evaluation is the regular observation of the employee’s behavior during the performance of duties by the immediate supervisor, as well as the employee’s self-assessment in the hope that he will correctly recognize the areas in which he shows gaps (in terms of soft skills and even technical skills).

In this aspect, several solutions are also worth mentioning, suggesting a departure from traditional forms of assessment or competence development.

Part no 2. Country Report: National Approaches on Soft Skills and Employability – country public entities declare support in the area of preparing strategies and developing soft skills among youth people but these efforts are more related to the improvement of qualifications, formal aspects and technical skills, with the generic expression most commonly used being “competences”, and revealing a lack of specific information on the field of soft skills in the area of higher education, and therefore, their theoretical analysis and practical development concerning the employability of the group in question.

The actions of the universities appear to be more specific and will get more profitable effects in long term.

Collaboration remains the first step in improving the educational ecosystem. The public and private sectors and HEI need to align objectives in order to amplify the effectiveness of policies and the impact of investments. It is essential to develop a shared agenda, capable of aligning objectives and strategies to develop the skills of young people.

Part no 3. Primary Research on Soft Skills Mapping – The mapping of soft skills with employability was carried out with the full involvement of the project consortium. The first step in the research procedure was the review of secondary sources. Literature studies were aimed not only at building methodological foundations for the correct design of research.

Their aim was also to ensure the substantive correctness of the design of the research tools and the proper focusing of the center of gravity in the field of research on the explanation of the scientific problem presented in the project.

The conducted survey research aimed at mapping soft skills and their relationship with employability has produced a lot of valuable information. Diversified in terms of industry and sector, and at the same time an international research sample, the obtained results are of a cross-sectional character and allow for the construction of interesting conclusions on the role of soft skills in the contemporary labor market. Users can consult for free both the full report and the executive summary, which pinpoints main results and findings form the primary and secondary assessment (available in Multilanguage version EN, PL, HR, IT, LV, BG, ES).

For further information on ESSENCE and other IDP European Consultants initiatives:
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Essentials for your cyber-readiness:

The Cyber MSME training material is finally online

The analysis of results and key takeaways emerged from our international assessment of cyber-threats for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU highlighted four critical areas of interest for the cyber-empowerment, upskilling and IT-readiness of EU MSMEs: 1. Outline of a cyber-resilience framework that is specific to MSMEs’ needs2. Raising awareness on the risk management frameworks, their applicability, and benefits3. Making cybersecurity more accessible – including making it more understandable to non-cyber literate4. Promoting voluntary and compulsory trainings among employees5. Supporting development of simplified security protocols that can be operationalized with limited extra costs

Based on the above, and following internal brainstorming among partners on how to tackle these specific focuses, the Cyber MSMEs project proposes its own education and training curricula on the very essentials of cyber-readiness for MSMEs. The education framework is designed as follows:

All material is available for free, in opens access and in multilanguage version (EN, PL, ES, IT, RO)  by consulting out official Open Education Resource Platform.

The House of Workability and in-detail assessment at international level of key ability-to-work drivers:

The AKKUEurope experience so far

At the beginning of June, the AKKU’s partnership gathered together during the second transnational project meeting (TPM) of the AKKU project to discuss more in details the concrete steps needed to finalise and consolidate the toolbox for workability: a very comprehensive and detailed set of resources that targets (i.e., micro-entrepreneurs and admin staff of MSMEs) can leverage on to assess, analyse and foster working conditions and overall organisation climate of their firms.

The aforementioned classification includes means that are instrumentals in strengthening the ability-to-work’s experience in terms of:

  • Employees’ health and performance
  • Knowledge, professional skills (competence)
  • Values, attitudes, motivation
  • Work environment, work organization, leadership

In total, we clustered more than 30 tools that provides for significant insights, recommendations and To-Dos to enhance work-ability conditions at micro-enterprise dimension.

These resources have been extrapolated from scientific literature and trustworthy sources (i.e., medical and management journals) so as to compile our toolbox with up-to-date and state of art knowledge on the matter.

Each partner was responsible of carrying out an assessment at national level – at exception of the Belgian partner IHF, which look into EU and international sources – to take stock of consolidated and robust work ability-related publications and materials.

After a first round of desk research, each tool has been further classified based on:

  • Target group of reference (i.e., management and / or employees)
  • Branch / sector, and domain of interest (i.e., remote working)
  • Aims and objectives
  • Content’s description
  • Benefits
  • Supporting format (i.e., paper vs digital version)
  • Link to the House of Workability: CRITERIA vs LEVEL
  • Source and bibliography

The Second TPM represented a great opportunity for all partners to evaluate internally at consortium level current progresses and achieved results. Most importantly, partners took this opportunity to agree on the final outline of the toolbox in terms of content, structure and usability. To know more about the background, scale and scope of the AKKU project, please visit:

Tour2Include: Migrant’s Integration into Tourism Related Professions

The e-Learning platform is finally online:
Upskilling and capacity building opportunities for migrants’ employability

After two intense years of programming, planning, implementation and development, the T2I project (Migrant’s Integration into Tourism Related Professions) is finally coming to an end.

The last project’s result is available to the public: an e-learning for low-skilled migrants in the identified Tourism-Related professions. The training content is free for public consultation and it is targeted to professionals and trainers, NGOs’ staff members (i.e., volunteers and administrative staff), formal and non-formal Vocational Education and training organisation, Adult Education stakeholders and groups of interests, etc., that wish to enrich their education offer with a new and innovative curricula designed by international professionals operating at EU level in the domain of capacity building for socio-economic integration of marginalised people. The training material focuses on the following:

Additionally, partners prepared for both targets and tutors additional notes on countries’ profile represented by the T2I’s consortium so as to help users in batter familiarising with German, Greek and Italian cultures.

You can access the platform by consulting the following link:

IDP at European Rotors, the event for the rotorcraft and VTOL industry and ecosystem in Cologne

IDP European Consultants is eager to present at the European Rotors in Cologne, November 16 to 18, to share its experience on the many opportunities of the European funding programmes for the rotorcraft sector.

European Rotors is the first of a kind event for the helicopter, rotor and VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) industry jointly organised by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Helicopter Association (EHA). The three-day event will bring together major OEMs, operators, users, pilots, technicians and government authorities.

European Rotors is a unique platform for exchange and networking for industry participants. In addition to the “EASA Rotorcraft and VTOL Symposium” and industry showcase, European Rotors embeds a considerable training component for the sector. IDP will hold one introductory presentation to EU funding programmes and two thematic training workshops on how the rotorcraft industry can tap into EU funding.

For more information about the training sessions and tickets, follow this link:

More details about the European Rotor programme are available on the website of European Rotors:

Imprenditoria digitale per le donne: la proposta DEW approvata per il finanziamento!

Léargas, l’Agenzia Nazionale irlandese Erasmus+, ha approvato la proposta DEW – Digital Entrepreneurship for Women, sviluppata congiuntamente da LWL e IDP European Consultants.
Il progetto DEW consiste in una Partnership di sette organizzazioni provenienti da cinque Paesi dell’UE (Belgio, Francia, Irlanda, Italia e Spagna) e svilupperà strumenti innovativi di formazione e operativi per promuovere l’imprenditorialità digitale femminile.
Il progetto DEW inizierà ufficialmente nel novembre 2021 e durerà 24 mesi… Rimanete sintonizzati per ulteriori notizie su DEW e altri progetti europei!