Digitalent: one-year of public-private partnership

16/09/2016

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Digitalent: one-year of public-private partnership

16/09/2016

For one year now, the Digitalent project has made it possible for 90 unemployed, low-skilled young people to be trained in Information and Communication Technology.

After one year of existence, Digitalent takes stock and keeps up its momentum, motivated by the success of the previous participations.

Digitalent: one-year of public-private partnership

For one year now, the Digitalent project has made it possible for 90 unemployed, low-skilled young people to be trained in Information and Communication Technology.

After one year of existence, Digitalent takes stock and keeps up its momentum, motivated by the success of the previous participations.

On 5 October 2015, the Proximus Foundation launched its Digitalent project, a series of workshops aimed at immersing unemployed, low-skilled young people in the world of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

After one year and eight training cycles in six large Belgian cities, the Digitalent project is proud of having been able to train 90 unemployed young people in Brussels, Liège, Charleroi, Antwerp, Hasselt and Ghent.

This initiative by the Proximus Foundation was possible only thanks to a public-private partnership bringing the Forem, VDAB, Actiris and Bruxelles Formation together with the trainers of Altran, 3KD, Technobel and YouthStart appointed by the foundation.

For whom?

The Digitalent project initiated by the Proximus Foundation is aimed at unemployed and low-skilled young people aged between 18 and 25. Through interactive workshops on ICT, entrepreneurship and job-seeking techniques, the coaches remotivate young people who have often experienced only failure; they teach them better self-knowledge and restore discipline in their lives.

The project aims to bring back these young, increasingly isolated people to existing structures. Indeed, since they do not systematically register as job seekers, they lose contact with employment organizations and join the ranks of NEETs (Not in Employment, Education or Training). In Belgium, NEETs represented 12% of the population of 15- to 24-year-olds in 2014 (statistics from the Federal Public Service Employment, Labor and Social Dialog). To recruit participants to the workshops, the Proximus Foundation uses the databases of the Forem, VDAB and Actiris employment offices, and also informs the social structures of the municipalities, youth centers, community centers and public assistance centers.

In practice

Young people are invited to come and get informed during an “Info Session" day which is organized one or two weeks before the start of a training cycle. It is at this point that enrolment in the training workshops can start. The Digitalent workshops run for eight weeks, full-time. A typical week consists of:

  • A three-day initiation into the basic techniques of 3D design and printing, programming, and website creation.
  • One day with YouthStart trainers to develop an entrepreneurial spirit
  • One day with trainers from the regional employment office (Forem, VDAB or Actiris/Brussels Formation) to improve their presentation techniques, draw up a CV and covering letter, and better define their strengths and assets.

    Among the extraordinary projects created by the 90 young people during this past year are a dustbin which automatically sorts paper, plastic and metal waste, an interactive fresco, a laser harp, a musical hand, a drone, an interactive game board, a car controlled remotely by smartphone, and a camera. (See the photos via this link)

    At the end of the project, a support plan is drawn up for the participants by the regional employment office and the Proximus Foundation. The aim is to support the young people in their endeavors and to direct them either in their search for skills training, a work placement or a job.

Results

Over the course of one year, Digitalent has held eight training cycles, which represents more than 300 hours of training and which 90 young people have attended. Given that the project is itinerant, it was organized in the following cities: Brussels, Liège, Charleroi, Antwerp, Hasselt and Ghent. Of all the participants (59 young people) of the five first training cycles, 12 have found a job, one even launching his own 3D printing company, and 21 young people have gone back into training. In addition, each of the participants is still receiving a personalized follow-up from the Forem, VDAB or Actiris/Bruxelles Formation, depending on the region.

The next dates

The Proximus Foundation will hold five training cycles in the second half of 2016: in Anderlecht, Schaerbeek, Mechelen, Namur and Charleroi.

  • 03/10 – 29/11: Schaerbeek (FR) -  Info Session: 21/09
  • 10/10 – 06/12: Anderlecht (NL) – Info Session: 21/09
  • 17/10: Mechelen – Info Session 10/10
  • 24/10: Namur -  Info Session 10/10
  • 31/10: Mons - Info Session TBC

But the Proximus Foundation is not stopping there and is already planning nine training cycles in several large Belgian cities in 2017.



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