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Training content and operational solutions to embrace smart working: the SWIFT SME platform is finally available

In the first months of 2020, as COVID-19 infections were rising all over the world, entrepreneurs and employers were asked to close their activities and, if possible, to transfer all their work online, forcing them to implement telecommuting solutions that, in many cases, had never been experienced before.

A comprehensive sample of results emerging from EU sources (Data refer to the Eurostat. Individuals’ level of digital skills, 2019 & The Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2020) confirm that EU SMEs and their internal workforce lack a strong and reliable digital/ICT culture (specifically those located in the Mediterranean and Balkan area); a skill lag that throughout the post-crisis exacerbated pre-existing gaps in terms of opportunities for long-term financial sustainability.

EU SMEs are the most affected by the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic: Europe is “closed for business,” and while large companies have systems in place to implement telecommuting and smart working, SMEs (especially microenterprises) do not have ICT systems in place nor policies for their staff to work remotely.

SWIFT SME tackles the challenge to equip micro and SMEs across Europe with tools and means to embrace telecommuting as a new competitive solution to operate in the new business scenario.

The 2-year project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission and reunites a Consortium of six organisation from five countries (Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania, and Spain).

As the first project’s result, the strategic partnership developed, tested, and published online the official Open Educational Resource (OER) Platform. The SWIFT SME’s Platform is in multilanguage version and its consultation is completely free with no log-in credentials required; throughout the following two years, the OER Platform will publish the milestones achieved by the partnership, namely:

  • Transnational analysis from secondary and primary sources mapping quantitative and qualitative dynamics related to the phenomenon of smart working and telecommuting among microentrepreneurs and SMEs
  • Training tools and operational solutions to facilitate a smooth transition towards new business models embracing the paradigm of remote working
  • Uptake guidelines to sustain the replicability of the project so to spread SWIFT SME’s impact beyond its natural life cycle

Extremely relevant is also the COMMUNITY section of the Platform: private and public stakeholders in the domain of Entrepreneurship, digital training, business consultancy, etc., will be able to join the community of practice of SWIFT SME while remaining updated on project’s results and achievements.

In the Project, IDP brings its consolidated experience and expertise as a private provider of VET and adult education services. IDP has 25 years of experience in international and cross-border collaboration in the field of promotion of entrepreneurship and employability. IDP will greatly contribute to the technical and operational activities of the Project carrying out analysis and stock-taking activities of the Italian VET ecosystem pertaining to the project; contributing to structuring modules, developing methodologies for effective teaching and learning, materials and content.

For further information on SWIFT SME and other IDP initiatives:

www.idpeuropa.com

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AKKUEurope: Regulation of the work ability in EU small and micro enterprises through multimedia tools

Officially kickstarted in November 2020, AKKUEurope is an international project co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Programme.

MSMEs play an important role in the European economy but are particularly affected by a shortage of young talent, as they are unable to compete with the services offered by Medium-Sized Enterprises and large companies in various respects (e.g., job security, pay levels, promotion opportunities). MSMEs can and must react to this by paying special attention to maintaining the workability and employability of their existing workforces.

The aim of the AKKUEurope project is the systematic development and validation of a multimedia toolbox suitable for the target group based on existing instruments, together with the owners and employees of selected MSME companies. So far, thanks to the precious contribution of the Spanish partner Internet Web Solutions (IWS), Partners completed a particularly important achievement which is the testing and validation of the Online Educational Resource Platform (OER) associated to the project. The OER Platform is freely available for all users (i.e., no log-in credentials required) and in multilanguage version (EN, DE, IT, MK, PL, ES) so to spread the impact and visibility of its content.

For the next two years, the Platform will host news about the project, deliverables produced by the partnership and relevant information addressing the topic of workability in Europe.

Each section of the platform is the digital “repository” of a series of sources and resources that partners will develop and implement in the next two years.

Particularly relevant will be the ANALYSIS of the existing tools for employability and the following TOOLBOX – two very strategic deliverables of the project.

The analysis of the existing tools follows two main criteria:

  • What is the organisational dimension addressed by these tools?
    • Health and performance
    • Knowledge, technical ability (competence)
    • Values, attitudes, motivation
    • Work environment, work organization, leadership

  • What is their expected impact?
    • Enhancing major awareness on the topic
    • Analysis and assessing the current status on workability dynamics
    • Implementing new workability models

On the basis of the criteria catalogue, the expert project Consortium will select at least 30 instruments for the toolbox which can be used throughout Europe. The selected instruments will be adapted to the needs of micro and SMEs for the mutual benefit of employers and employees.

Highly important for dissemination and visibility purposes is the ASSOCIATES section: stakeholders in the domain of entrepreneurship, organisational culture, business consultancy, etc., will be able to join the community of practice of AKKUEurope while remaining updated on project’s results and achievements.

In the Project, IDP brings its consolidated experience and expertise as a private provider of VET and adult education services. IDP has 25 years of experience in international and cross-border collaboration in the field of promotion of entrepreneurship and employability. IDP will greatly contribute to the technical and operational activities of the Project carrying out analysis and stock-taking activities of the Italian VET ecosystem pertaining to the project; contributing to structuring modules, developing methodologies for effective teaching and learning, materials and content.

For further information on AKKUEurope and other IDP initiatives:

www.idpeuropa.com

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Cybersecurity for microenterprises and SMEs: adapting concrete training solutions to their needs

Officially launched at the very end of 2020, Cyber-MSME is an international project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission. The project gathers six Partners from five different countries (Belgium, Italy, Poland, Romania, and Spain) that throughout the following two years will work together to develop, test, consolidate and establish training solutions and operative guidelines to support EU SMEs with their strategic priorities in the domain of digital readiness and cyber-efficacy.

Out of the four major outputs discussed during the proposal, one has already been achieved: the Cyber-MSME OER (Open Education Resource) Platform.

The platform guarantees the online visibility of the project and, most importantly, the showcase of all major milestones achieved by the strategic partners in the 24 months of project implementation.

Each section of the platform stands as the digital repository of data and resources available for users; published in multilanguage version and freely accessible (i.e., no sort of log-in credentials will ever be required).

Particularly relevant are the MAPPING and TRAINING sections: a formal e-archive of the transnational analysis conducted upon the status of cyber resilience among European SMEs and the training tools elaborated consistently with the results emerging from the previous.

The NEWS section will be updated with the project’s progress and other relevant information coming from the EU cyber-ecosystem on an as-needed basis; both public and private stakeholders operating in the mentioned domain can easily remain updated with Cyber-MSME’s development by joining the ASSOCIATES of the project, enlarging its “community of practicing” and contributing proactively to its dissemination and international visibility.

In the Project, IDP brings its consolidated experience and expertise as a private provider of VET and adult education services. IDP has 25 years of experience in international and cross-border collaboration in the field of promotion of entrepreneurship and employability. IDP will greatly contribute to the technical and operational activities of the Project carrying out analysis and stock-taking activities of the Italian VET ecosystem pertaining to the project; contributing to structuring modules, developing methodologies for effective teaching and learning, materials and content.

For further information on Cyber-MSME and other IDP initiatives:

www.idpeuropa.com

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