Network F Supporting the adaptability of firms and employees to structural economic changes and the use of information technology and other new technologies.
Project name Partnership for Development of IT Competencies in Poland
Project number F0030

Project description

The objective of the Partnership is to counteract labour market discrimination of employees aged over 40 who work for small and medium enterprises.

They are at a disadvantage on the labour market due to knowledge gaps and inadequate computer skills, while new job openings are mainly in the sector of services, where advanced technologies are extensively used. Discrimination is combined with a shortage of skilled employees in small and medium enterprises. Therefore, it is necessary to work out a pro-employment policy for mature workers.

Occupational integration of those aged over 40 is hampered mainly by their inability to use information and communication technologies at work. As a consequence, mature employees are unable to contribute fully to manufacturing and distribution processes based on advanced technologies. This is detrimental to their labour market status and promotes discrimination in terms of access to specific positions, promotion and wages earned. Moreover, employees over 40 face unequal treatment in terms of access to vocational training or placements, insofar as employers tend to invest in younger and more "promising" workers. Training in new technologies, programmes, teaching materials or publications for mature employees are unavailable on the market. Quite often, employees themselves are unaware of the necessity to learn and improve their computer and communication technology skills.

Under existing business and market conditions, when new services, communication channels and company management techniques emerge as a result of technological progress, employees are expected to meet ever higher and constantly evolving requirements. As a consequence, in order for an employee aged over 40 to keep his/her existing or find a new job, he/she must adjust IT skills and competence to the level expected by employers. Mature workers are inherently less learning prone or motivated to change, while adequate support at home and at work is lacking. Under strong competitive pressure they face the risk of redundancy and, consequently, social exclusion of themselves and their families. Counteracting such exclusion is in the best interest of both employees and small and medium enterprises, as this may facilitate the adjustment to structural and technological changes in the economy, while promoting the use of information technologies.

The Development Partnership's objective is to work out innovative training programmes, tools and publications intended to improve the IT competence of small and medium enterprises and employees aged over 40. Final beneficiaries are individual or enterprises involved in development, testing and evaluation of manuals, training vortal and hosting of conferences and seminars. A total of approx. 800 final beneficiaries will participate in the Project: 150 of them will test new tools and 650 will participate in training events (both classroom and e-learning courses) and diagnostic activities. Training vortal visitors (2-3 thousand of them per month) may also be considered as final beneficiaries.

The Project is targeted at small and medium enterprises from Dolnośląskie, Łódzkie, Małopolskie, Mazowieckie and Śląskie Voivodships. The Partnership is preparing theoretical studies as the basis for the development of procedures intended for employees aged of 40 years. Special training events (both classroom and e-learning courses) will be developed for this group of beneficiaries with their involvement and tailored to their educational needs and abilities. In order to enable discriminated workers to broaden their knowledge of information and communication technologies, the Development Partnership will prepare new teaching publications: manuals and guides containing all pertinent information on the application of new technologies at work. Project beneficiaries will have an opportunity to take advantage of expert support in the use of information and communication technologies in their everyday work, thus contributing to an improvement in the competitiveness of enterprises and individual workers. The Partnership will design comprehensive and specialised training curricula and tools supporting the implementation of new technologies, which are to be verified on an ongoing basis during the term of the Project. In such a way an optimum training model will be developed, which - following minor modifications - will be ready for application elsewhere in Poland. The use of expertise (tools, studies, expert opinions, publications and procedures facilitating the development of ICT competence) will be supported by an extensive dissemination campaign. Project outcomes will be promoted in many ways: distribution of new materials, at conferences and seminars, website, cooperation with mass media, National Thematic Networks and by Project beneficiaries - "the ambassadors of change" - whose attitudes will testify to the benefits from improving skills and pro-active attitudes on the labour market. The final objective of the Project is to include the new solutions into vocational training and labour market legislation.