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Addressing the digital skills gap in partnership with Microsoft Slovenia and other key organizations

New Initiative for Upskilling Launched in Slovenia: Digital Knowledge for the Jobs of the Future

Ljubljana, 23 March 2021 ‒ Microsoft Slovenia, Fast Lane Central Eastern Europe, the Ministry of Public Administration, Adecco HR, the Digital Innovation Hub of Slovenia, the University of Ljubljana and the University of Primorska presented a new initiative called Digital Knowledge for the Jobs of the Future at Triglav Lab today, for successful work and life in the digital age. The initiative addresses students, jobseekers and employees in the public and private sectors, who need to acquire additional knowledge and skills in order to be able to make the most of all the advantages of modern technologies. There are four free training programs for business and data analytics, application development and software development with little or no code, which also include practical online lectures by established Slovenian and foreign experts. The Ministry of Public Administration and Microsoft have also signed a memorandum of understanding, which provides for enhanced cooperation in the field of digital skills.

The crisis that the world has been facing for more than a year is not only medical, but also economic and social, as many people have lost their jobs or are working less than they could. However, at a time when countries are preparing to restart their economies, we are increasingly realizing that they will not simply return to the pre-crisis situation. Due to rapid technological development, automation and the acceleration of digital transformation in organizations of all sizes, some jobs will never return, but at the same time many new ones will be created, which will require much more digital skills.

Jobseekers will need new digital skills to be able to successfully apply for new jobs and effectively pursue the professions that companies will be most looking for. At the same time, in an environment where the use of advanced digital tools is a key foundation for productivity and competitiveness, organizations will need to provide additional training and lifelong learning opportunities for their existing employees.

The recovery of economies will take place in the midst of long-term trends of digitization and automation with modern technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing and the Internet of Things. Slovenia is facing a difficult task, as according to the OECD, we are among the countries with the largest share of jobs that are highly endangered by automation. We must raise the level of digital skills very quickly and make it easier for all residents to access lifelong learning and additional training, said Barbara Domicelj, Director of Microsoft Slovenia. The initiative presented today, which brought together as many as 18 stakeholders from the Slovenian public and private sector, shows a broad awareness of the challenge ahead, so I believe that Slovenia will certainly be among the winners of the digital transition.

For successful digital transformation, the digital competencies of civil servants as well as our end users, i.e. citizens and companies, are important. Citizens who are aware of the potential of digital technologies will be able to demand modern solutions from the state and also participate in their co-creation. Civil servants who are aware of this potential will create better regulations, better solutions and better services, and it is also very important that they will be able to get closer to citizens and work more closely with them with digital technologies, said Boštjan Koritnik, Minister of Public Administration.

Acquiring knowledge about digital technologies has never been more necessary and demanding than in these unusual times. The hardships of the current situation - reconciling work and family life, schooling from home and other obligations ‒ make it almost impossible for us to improve our knowledge, said Durđica Strunjaš Kurt, Head of Sales and Marketing for Central and Eastern Europe, Fast Lane. Therefore, together with the initiators, we decided to offer more flexible and relaxed self-study courses. They also include invaluable live lessons with our experts and the experts of our partners. More than 25 years of experience have prepared our Fast Lane team well to help you on the way to new knowledge and certifications.

Bridging the digital divide by strengthening digital competencies, digitizing small and medium-sized enterprises and providing a supportive environment for digitalization are key challenges that we are tackling at the Digital Innovation Hub of Slovenia (DIHS). The experience of the coronavirus pandemic has clearly highlighted the importance of digitalization for the survival of companies, and thus the digital competencies of employees as key to a smooth work process. We are very happy to join the Digital Knowledge for Jobs of the Future initiative, as we believe that the appropriate support environment and the cooperation of key actors play a key role in strengthening digital competencies, said Katja Mohar Bastar, Director of the DIHS Institute.

Due to the accelerated digital transformation, the labor market is changing drastically more and more rapidly. In order to reduce the gaps between the needs of employers and the skills of candidates, we need to equip individuals with the necessary digital skills. However, in order to provide people with a place in the labor market, they also need to be educated about market trends, the impacts of digitalization, staffing needs, and skills and career opportunities. At Adecco, we are joining a much-needed initiative, which is a call for all the people of Slovenia who want to become digitally empowered and more competitive and desirable in the labor market, said Luka Peter Medved, Head of Key Parties, Adecco H.R. d. o. o.

Digital competences are one of the key competences for lifelong learning, as digital technologies are increasingly intertwined with our daily lives, the way we study, work and collaborate with others. At the University of Ljubljana, we encourage the development of digital competencies, responsible and safe use of digital technologies and interaction with them in study, work and social engagement, said Maja Dizdarević, Assistant Secretary General of the University of Ljubljana, responsible for developing services for students and alumni.

The recent or still ongoing situation, when in many areas, almost overnight, work has been started in full or at least in part as teleworking with the help of information and communication technology, has further demonstrated the need for digital skills and additional training in this rapidly changing field. The university environment is no exception, both in terms of pedagogical work and the work of professional services, which we are aware of, both those who already work in this environment, as well as those who will just come there, said prof. dr. Klavdija Kutnar, Rector of the University of Primorska.

The Digital Knowledge Initiative for Future Jobs is also supported by AmCham Slovenia, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, the University of Maribor, the Association for Informatics and Telecommunications at the Chamber of Commerce of Slovenia, the Manager Association and the Employment Service of Slovenia. Practical online trainings will be organized by experts from Microsoft and Fast Lane Slovenija and Adecco H.R. also performed by experts from Microsoft partner companies ADD, B2, Comtrade, SPAN and SoftwareOne.

Four free tutorials

As part of the initiative, everyone who would like to gain knowledge for successful work and life in the digital society has access to four free tutorials on the Microsoft Learn platform: business analytics, data analytics, application development and software development with little or without code.

English language programs are based on independent learning, and participants can adjust the speed and time of learning to their wishes and abilities. Learning through the Microsoft Learn platform will be complemented by hands-on online lectures given by established lecturers from Microsoft, Fast Lane and Adecco H.R. and Microsoft partner companies.

Upon successful completion, participants will receive a certificate of completed education. They will also be able to choose to continue learning by preparing to obtain a Microsoft certification at a very affordable price.

DIGITAL KNOWLEDGE PLATFORM FOR FUTURE PROFESSIONS (with program presentation and application ‒ in Slovene language).

Signing of a memorandum between Microsoft and the Ministry of Public Administration

The Ministry of Public Administration and Microsoft also signed a memorandum of understanding, which provides for enhanced cooperation in the field of digital skills for employees in the Slovenian public sector. To this end, the signatories plan to strengthen the exchange of modern materials and other resources on the development of digital skills, and provide public sector employees with easier and more efficient access to the curricula and courses they need to successfully acquire key digital skills.

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