How can NGOs use digital technology to support young people in order to increase their employability chances?

Warsaw, Poland. On a sunny Friday morning, on the 27th of September,  Fundacja Samodzielni Robinsonowie invited executive staff and senior managers from youth-focused organisations in Poland to discuss youth work within the particular context of Digital Skills development. We wanted to share with them the results of the research we conducted in 4 countries on digital skills in relation to: digital skills level among young people; the needs voiced by young people themselves; the NGOs’ and youth workers’ needs, and employers’ expectations. 

There were 7 organizations participating: : Fundacja AtalayaStowarzyszenie Serduszko dla DzieciFundacja Program Pomocy Pierwsza PracaBig Brothers Big Sisters of PolandTowarzystwo Nasz Dom/ Our Home Association, Fundacja Praesterno, Katalyst Education. The event took place in Restauracja Mokolove, and started at 10 a.m.

The research results’ presentation inspired a great discussion on how to support young people entering the job market where digital technology now plays such an important role, and specifically how NGOs can be involved in this process.  The participants raised the subject of the rather poor, old fashion education system in Poland which is not ready at all for the demands and challenges of the current workplace. 

Fundacja Samodzielni Robinsowie also presented the outputs of the Skill IT for Youth project, which are a work in progress. We shared with the participants, the concept of the ‘Organizational Digital Readiness Guide for senior managers & leaders’ to embed digital technology into their organisations. We also demonstrated the prototype of the online self-assessment tool for organizations. 

The ‘Competence Framework for Youthwork Practice’ was the next interactive self-assessment tool we presented.  It allows youth workers and their managers to measure key Digital Youth Work competencies along 4 parameters: attitude, knowledge, skills, behaviour. We explained to the participants how this tool can be used by senior managers to growth their staff’s skills. 

The second part of event was dedicated to an interactive workshop: together we developed ideas for Policy at national level, that could help enhance the digital skills of young people in order to increase their employability chances. Participants were working in 3 groups and discussed ideas under 4 headings:

  • What should be coming from Government & agencies to help the youth sector?
  • What could the youth sector do collectively?
  • What can employers/business associations do?
  • What can other (non-public/governmental) funders do?

The Multiplier Event ended with a tasty lunch which gave the participants a good networking opportunity. All participants were so involved in their discussions and keen to share ideas that the event lasted one hour longer than was scheduled! The participants also stated their desire to attend the next Skill IT project event in January 2020.

Multiplier Event covered the following topics:

  • Skill IT for Youth Research Report
  • Training Toolkit for Youth Worker and digital youth work
  • Competence Framework for Digital Youth Work Practice
  • A strategic guide for senior managers & leaders to embed digital technology into their organisations
  • DigiPOL: Policy briefs addressing the importance and significance of digital and future skills to the employability of young people and emphasising the role of and value of youth work in the delivery of these skills and competencies